Graveyards and Ghosts
Considered one of the most haunted cities in America, many of Savannah’s homes, hotels, restaurants and cemeteries boast paranormal activity and sightings. Yellow Fever, fires, murderous pirates, slave traders, and wars all contribute to Savannah’s high body count. Due to poor records, devastating fires, mass graves, and the constant relocation of cemeteries as the city developed (often moving headstones and not the bodies), there are human remains under many of Savannah’s buildings and roads.
In Savannah’s 2.5 square mile historic district, a person may carry and drink alcoholic beverages on the go. This allows for the haunted pub crawls seen nightly around the city. Grab a drink and follow your guide to multiple haunted locations, hearing grizzly tales and possibly experiencing some supernatural phenomena. I saw an armadillo and some bad karaoke but no ghosts.
Got kids? Other haunted walking/trolley/hearse tours are more family friendly. Check age limits and nights available before making your reservation as these vary greatly between tour companies.
The Mercer Williams House is one reportedly haunted location in Savannah and is the site of a famous murder.
I realize this sounds like something your grandparents would do, but honestly it’s a great way to see the city. Several companies offer hop on/hop off narrated trolley tours that provide you with some history of Savannah and transportation to museums, monuments, homes, parks and shopping. Our one day pass did not allow us time to see everything on our list but multi-day passes are available. If you stay in the Historic District, most places of interest are within walking distance.
Savannah has some spectacular shopping opportunities. Broughton Street is home to many high end retailers and specialty shops. The Paris Market, located at 36 W. Broughton Street, offers a variety of imported goods such as perfumes and tea, and oddities like dried cicada bodies and these wonderful journals.
River Street is bursting with souvenir shops, sweets, and items from local artisans. The Savannah City Market allows visitors to stroll among shops using a pedestrian only street. Gifts, accessories and art are abundant, as well as Woof Gang Bakery which caters to your four legged friends.
Savannah is known for Southern and Lowcountry cuisine (think pecan encrusted fried chicken, shrimp, crab, and rice dishes). Many restaurants feature signature cocktails, local beer, and extensive wine lists to compliment their unique menus.
With many restaurants housed in historic buildings, the widespread use of candles and oil lamps to provide authentic ambience is surprising. The Pirate’s House has a casual family atmosphere and wait staff may share with you their favorite ghostly sightings. The building was an actual pirate hang out. A large hole in the floor was used to drop drunken men to be dragged through a series of tunnels, only to awaken tied to an oar and rowing to China.
Perched high above River Street, Vic’s on the River offers delectable seafood with a lovely view. For a fancier evening out, The Olde Pink House is a popular establishment where reservation times go fast. Be sure to visit the beautiful bar housed in the basement.
For lunch head to Treylor Park on Bay Street. Their menu features fun items like PB&J chicken wings, avocado fries, and unusual sandwiches like the Grilled Apple Pie.
Heaven on Earth
Offering a wide range of specialty martini’s (chocolate mint, peanut butter cup, raspberry espresso…) and desserts, Lulu’s Chocolate Bar is a must for chocolate lovers. Located at 42 MLK Jr. Blvd, your senses will be delighted by the smell of chocolate and the large glass case full of cakes, tarts, brownies and more.
Leopold’s Ice Cream is also worth a visit. If the line is only 20 people out the door go ahead and wait. If it’s to the end of the block (as it often is) you may want to come back another time.
Other Notable Experiences
Bonaventure Cemetery is full of beautiful sculpture, famous Georgians and stories to make you gasp and giggle. The cemetery can be visited on your own in the comfort of your air conditioned vehicle, but skipping the guided tour means missing out on tales of Voodoo, Hoodoo, grudges, and ghosts.
The American Prohibition Museum is an entertaining walk through the banning of alcohol in 1920, the rise of moonshiners and speakeasies and the celebration that followed the legalization of alcohol in 1933. At the end of the tour use a secret password to enter the speakeasy and enjoy a prohibition era cocktail.
For a fun date or group outing try Savannah Smiles Dueling Piano Bar. Sing with the crowd, get up and dance and enjoy the talent and banter of the musicians.
Three and a half days was not enough to see all Savannah, GA has to offer. I hope to return soon to enjoy Tybee Island, Wormsloe Historic Site, the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge and many more restaurants.