Peter and I went on our first post-covid trip at the end of April to Savannah, Georgia. We spent a total of 3 full days in the area, traveling into town late Monday night and leaving Friday morning. Here are some of our pictures, experiences, and do's and don'ts.
We stayed at the Isetta Inn, a charming little AirBNB in the Starland Arts District. If you don’t mind a bit of a walk, it helped us be a little more budget friendly and gave us a lovely, charming BNB experience. It was about a mile walk from Forsyth Park and about a 2 mile walk from River Street, which is the far end of the downtown area. Before our trip, we debated how to get around in Savannah, and we decided it seemed pretty walkable, so we would make due without a car, and I think I would do this again. Just bring good walking shoes if you are staying outside of the downtown area.
For our first day in Savannah, we decided to just wander and see where the wind blew us. We got breakfast outdoors at Collin’s Quarter in Forsyth Park (in typical me fashion, I had avocado toast) and then wandered Forsyth Park a bit. This park gets a lot of publicity when people talk about Savannah, GA, and it was nice, but for me the star of the show was the squares of the Historic District.
Savannah is laid out in a very organized fashion with squares composed of a lush community gathering area in the middle surrounded by historic homes around the perimeter. Most squares are named for historic figures or have a monument to a person, group of people, or event. The Hop-On, Hop-Off trolley tour we took gave us a great history of the squares and lots of facts about the individual squares, and from our bench seats, we could also see many different walking tour groups also exploring the squares (albeit at a slower speed). When you are walking around or riding on the trolley, make sure to keep an eye out for the date plaques on the side of the houses. We saw some plaques that dated all the way back to the 1700s. Also pay attention to all the ironwork you will see on the houses and surrounding the properties. We learned that ironwork was historically a symbol of wealth, so the more ironwork people had outside their house, the more they wanted you to know how rich they were.
One of the highlights of our first day was dinner at The Olde Pink House. Y’all, the hype is worth it! We were treated by some friends of ours who live near Savannah, and it was a fantastic meal. I would describe it as up-scale Southern-style (not sure what the foodies would call it, but that’s what I’m going to call it!). We would highly recommend having a special meal here but make sure you get reservations way ahead of time so you get a table.
Another good piece of info to note is that Savannah is not a big ride-sharing area, as we were informed by the locals after failing to catch a late-night Lyft from the airport to our AirBNB. There are not many drivers in the area, so if there are several people on your flight who intend to use this service, you will likely not all be able to get a driver (our wait time would have been 2-3 hours, and we landed at 11 pm, so this was not going to work for us). Fear not, however, because there were taxis readily available at the airport, and it only cost about $30 to get from the airport to the downtown area, which is cheaper than Uber and around the same price as Lyft. So, the moral of the story is don’t plan to depend on ride-sharing while in Savannah, because you may or may not get a ride.
While we are on the subject of transportation. For our second day in Savannah, we did a hop-on, hop-off trolley tour and really enjoyed the charismatic tour guides who all provided the historical information with their own personal spin. We learned, however, this would have been better to do on the first day we were in town instead of the second. It gives you a really good overview and you would then be able to decide what you would like to see in more detail the next day. It was also fun to just ride around with the breeze blowing through and to get out of the sun a bit, if you are prone to sunburn like I am. There are several different companies you can choose from, and they all seem to take a similar route and all have their initial boarding location at the Savannah Visitors Center. We ended up getting tickets with Old Town Trolley Tour and had a great experience.
On our second day, we also learned an important lesson about Savannah. Not sure if this is a covid thing, an “off-season” thing, or a usual, everyday thing, but if you want to visit different museums or do historic house tours, make sure you look up their operating days and hours when you are planning the days you will be in town. Both the Telfair museums and the Owens-Thomas House were closed on Wednesday, the day we had reserved for these types of activities, and we didn’t realize this until it was too late. There are plenty of options for historic homes in the area, but if there are certain ones you have your heart set on, make sure you arrange your schedule so you are available on their open days. So, you will have to stay tuned for our review of the Telfair Museums and Owens-Thomas House until the next time we are in Savannah. In its place, we got Coastal Heritage Society tickets which allowed you to pick three different museums/sites to visit but would probably recommend skipping this. With this ticket, we did the Savannah History Museum and the Harper Fowlkes House. The museum was not particularly nice (we are museum people, so really appreciate a good museum). On the other hand, the house was beautiful and really educational about architecture and interior design during that time period, but the tour was extremely short (you only get to see the basement and a few rooms on the first floor of the house). So in conclusion, don’t be us. Plan to see the Telfair and Owens-Thomas House when they are actually open (i.e. literally any other day that’s not Wednesday).
For our third day, we drove out to Tybee Island using a one day Turo rental. Before we beached it, we stopped at the Fort Pulaski National Monument early in the morning to beat the heat. We enjoyed seeing the Fort and surrounding park area and would recommend this stop on your way to Tybee if you like historic and educational opportunities. Also, to all my NPS passport geeks, there are several cancellation stamps here, so make sure you stop by the visitor center to get these (shout out to the NPS employee who, noting my excitement for passport stamps, gave Pete and I wooden Junior Ranger badges! Woo hoo!).
We then continued driving down the road toward the BEACH!! YAY!!! We started at North Beach, where I was able to successfully find a few shark teeth (although small, this is a marker of successful beaching for me). When we got hungry, we went for a late lunch at a colorful, beachy dive called CoCo’s, where we had some fantastic scallops and fried shrimp. We then stopped at some brightly-painted local artisan shops on our way to South Beach for the afternoon.
The next morning, we got some breakfast at Big Bon Bodega which was on the corner by our AirBNB and has literally the best bagels we have had in a very long time, so highly recommend a stop there if you are in the Starland Arts District. We then travelled back to the airport to bid “au revoir” to Savannah and head home.
Have any other questions about our Savannah trip? Let me know and I’ll be happy to get back to you!!
My name's Ashley, and I'm the photographer behind Ashley Deanna Photography. I am a fun and quirky wedding and engagement photographer serving Cleveland, OH, Akron, OH, and the Northeast Ohio region. Thanks for checking out the blog!