Tybee Island Lighthouse, photo courtesy Georgia Department of Economic Development

Just ten miles east of Savannah via Highway 80, Tybee Island is where Savannahians go to enjoy miles of unspoiled sand beaches.  Tybee activities include swimming, sailing, fishing, kayaking, dolphin tours, bike riding and bird watching.  Enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants; be sure to eat at Georges’ of Tybee for a superb meal.

Lighthouse lovers shouldn’t miss the Tybee Island Light Station  guiding mariners into the Savannah River for over 270 years. All of its historic support buildings on its five-acre site are intact. Rebuilt several times, the current light station displays its distinctive black and white day mark, and has 178 stairs and a fully restored first order Fresnel lens that’s nine feet tall.

Civil War buffs, hikers, and birders should visit the Fort Pulaski National Monument. According to the National Park Service, in “April of 1862, Union troops directed rifled cannon fire at the fort, breaching the southeast angle.  The quick success of this experimental cannon surprised military strategists.  The accuracy and range of the rifled cannon rendered brick fortifications obsolete.”  The park also includes over 5,000 acres of scenic marshlands, ideal for bird-watching (bring insect repellent!).

More Tybee info…

 

 

 Savannah, Georgia

  

 Savannah River Bridge, photo courtesy Georgia

 Department of  Economic Development

 

Getting Around

Savannah, Georgia is located in the southeastern U.S., close to I-95 and I-16. It’s about 4˝ hours by car from Atlanta and approximately 45 minutes by car from Hilton Head Island, SC. A number of airlines fly to the Savannah/Hilton Head Airport, located off I-95, close to town.

A perfect city for strolling, Savannah’s Historic District has two square miles of beautiful squares, parks, and tree-lined streets with historic homes. Parking is extremely limited, so ask your innkeeper for details, then plan to walk or take advantage of the free CAT shuttle trolley with over 30 stops in the historic area.  Beautiful Forsyth Park, with its famous fountain, is one mile around (great for walking/jogging) and marks the southern end of the historic district. Note: As in any city, some areas are safer than others; ask your innkeeper for details, and be extremely cautious about night-time strolls.

When to Go

From October through May, daytime temperatures are generally mild and pleasant. March, April and May are the most popular months to visit, when everything is in bloom, but fall and winter weather can be just as nice, with fewer crowds and lower prices. If you visit during the hot and humid summer months, avoiding top-floor guest rooms may be advisable.

Savannah also offers wonderful festivals, from the Christmas events in early December, when the city is beautifully decorated for the season, to the River Festival  and Tour of Homes and Gardens  in late March and early April. If your visit coincides with March 17th, be aware that Savannah’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is second in size only to New York City, and that “frolicking green madness” goes all week. Advance reservations for lodging and dining are essential.

Sights & Activities

Inspired by residential areas of 17th century London, founder James Oglethorpe laid out the city of Savannah with squares, gardens, and broad avenues. The city prospered, and religious tolerance made it home not only to English Protestants but also to Spanish Jews and Irish Catholics seeking refuge. The world’s largest cotton port at the start of the Civil War, Savannah slid into a steep decline by the 1920s, not reversed until the Historic Savannah Foundation spearheaded its renovation, starting in 1955, when seven grande dames adamantly refused to leave when the bulldozers came to demolish the historic Davenport House.   Now over two square miles of the city are listed on the National Historic Register, the largest urban historic district in the U.S.

Make the Visitor's Center your first stop in Savannah; you’ll find lots of useful information and discount coupons. Take the Trolley Tour which originates here, with flexible stops at the City Market; River Street with its cobblestone walkways, delightful shops and restaurants;  the Cotton Exchange; Forsyth Park, and several historic homes and places of worship.  Carriage rides, walking tours, and ghost tours, and other special-interest tours are also fun.

Savannah is also known for its house museums throughout the city and surrounding area. Among the best know are the Green-Meldrim House, which served as General Sherman’s headquarters during the Federal occupation of Savannah; the Andrew Low House, later home to Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scouts; and Isaiah Davenport Houses. The Telfair Museum of Art founded in 1886, comprise the original building; the Owens-Thomas House; plus the 64,000 sq. ft. Jepson Center for the Arts, opening in late 2005.  Details here…

Restaurants:  Among Savannah’s many fine restaurants, we enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the historic (and supposedly haunted) 17 Hundred 90.  Il Pasticcio is a jazzy kind of place, popular for its good food and appealing atmosphere. Savannah’s oldest restaurant in continuous operation, Johnny Harris, is well known for its Southern food and barbecue. The Boar’s Head Restaurant on River Street has wonderful water views of river and is located in an old cotton warehouse. Other recommendations include The Lady & Sons, and Mrs. Wilkes’ Boarding House, an old-time classic where communal dining takes place (lunch only), with platters heaped with vegetables and meats; expect long lines at either.  Belfords is a good choice in the City Market, and the Soho South Café is popular with locals for lunch. Leopold’s Ice Cream Shoppe on Broughton Street is perfect for an afternoon stop or after a performance at the nearby Lucas Theater.   More info…  

 

 B&Bs and Inns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foley House Inn, Savannah

 

A beautifully restored mansion with the feel of a small boutique hotel, The Ballastone combines luxurious, well-equipped accommodations with the warm hospitality of owners Jennifer and Jim Salandi and their staff. The inn’s chef prepares full breakfasts, afternoon tea, and evening hors d’oeuvres.  /Thoughtful touches here include evening turndown with a brandy night-cap, off-street parking, complimentary clothes pressing, and a small elevator.  We stayed in the China Trade suite elegantly decorated with Oriental artifacts, including a beautiful antique kimono and a king-size plantation four-poster bed.

Comprised of two Victorian townhouses, Foley House  is located in the historic district overlooking Chippewa Square.  Innkeepers Beryl and Don Zerwer and their staff are always available to assist with guests’ needs. Depending on the weather, you can relax in one of the inviting guest parlors or the garden courtyards.  Rates include a full breakfast, different each day, afternoon tea and cookies, evening hors d’oeuvres, and bedtime sherry and port.

An Italianate mansion with a wonderful gallery (veranda) for relaxing, the Dresser Palmer House offers comfortable accommodations, affordable rates, full breakfasts, evening wine and cheese, an excellent location, and convenient parking.

Overlooking beautiful Lafayette Square, the Hamilton-Turner Inn  was built in 1873, and offers antique-filled rooms, full breakfasts served at private tables, and afternoon wine. Families are welcomed in the carriage house, with special treats for younger guests.

Overlooking Forsyth Park, the Magnolia Place Inn  is a gracious Victorian mansion, with spacious guest rooms and a striking staircase accented with antique Japanese kimonos. In good weather, guests enjoy breakfast on the veranda, overlooking the park. 

Among Savannah’s finest mansions is the Kehoe House, recently restored to first-rate status with wonderful breakfasts, afternoon wine reception, evening turndown, off-street parking, and more.

Conveniently located across from Savannah’s Civic Center is the owner-operated Stephen Williams House  combining an intimate atmosphere with exquisite décor. A full breakfast is served in the formal Southern-style dining room, while evening wine and hors d’oeuvres are offered in the parlor.

Special thanks to Maxine Pinson of the Innside Scoop   for assistance with this issue. More Savannah B&Bs…

Tybee Island B&Bs… 






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