If you missed Part 1 of this post, you many want to check it out for the first five entries on my Savannah Top Ten list…
As previously stated, there is more to do in Savannah than a few days will allow. Therefore, I am attempting to break down the sights into a manageable list of ten (or so) top choices—based on my personal experience. (I recommend at least a week for your visit, if at all possible.)
- River Street and the Waterfront: Be sure to walk along the riverfront—both on the upper level along Factor’s Walk and Factor’s Row and also on the lower level along the Savannah River. The majority of these buildings are restored cotton warehouses. Several of my favorite attractions in this general vicinity include the Waving Girl Statue, the World War II Memorial, the Cotton Exchange Building, the Old Harbor Light, the Old City Exchange Bell, and Washington’s Guns. You can also stand on the spot where General James Edward Oglethorpe landed in 1733. River Street is home to restaurants, pubs, hotels, galleries, boutiques, open market stalls, and riverboat cruises.
- Green-Meldrim House: This elegant example of Greek Revival architecture served as the Civil War headquarters for Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. (From here he sent the famous—or infamous to us Southerners—telegram to President Lincoln, offering the city of Savannah as a Christmas gift.) Hoping to save his home as well as his cotton crop, the owner, Mr. Charles Green, offered the use of his home and graciously moved upstairs, occupying only a couple of rooms. It proved to be a prudent decision as the home is still standing. It currently belongs to St. John’s Episcopal Church. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is open for tours. (There are many such beautiful homes in Savannah, but I am recommending this one because I visited it personally and found its history and the tour to be fascinating.)
- Ships of the Sea Museum/William Scarbrough House: Not only does this pristine historic home contain a notable and expansive collection of all things nautical (model ships, ships in a bottle, figureheads, instruments, implements, uniforms, bells, tableware, correspondence…), it also has the largest gardens in the historic section of Savannah. Both are worth your time! Laid out as a typical 19th century parlor garden and later expanded, Scarbrough Gardens abound with trees and flowers of all kinds as well as a koi pond and—of particular historic interest—the official United States Government weather station which stood in Savannah from 1870 until World War II.
- Georgia State Railroad Museum: My great-grandfather was a railroad roundhouse foreman, so this museum (and fully functioning turntable) was quite fascinating to me. As part of the most complete antebellum railroad complex in the United States, it is a National Historic Landmark. We saw rail cars from various eras and got to climb aboard several. We also toured the blacksmith shop, the workers’ garden, and the storehouse and enjoyed close-up views of the turntable and a model of the city of Savannah—complete with working trains. I understand that you can take an actual train ride at certain times. This was actually one of my favorite attractions in Savannah!
- Battlefield Memorial Park: Recreated to immortalize the “Siege of Savannah,” a costly battle fought during the American Revolution, this replica of the Spring Hill Redoubt stands a short distance from the actual fighting ground and serves as a memorial to those Savannah patriots who gave their lives in 1779.
There are many, many other things to see and do in Savannah, including the Telfair Museum, SCAD Museum of Art, and various Girl Scout-related sights (Juliette Gordon Low birthplace, Girl Scout First Headquarters, and Louisa Porter Home/Location of the First Girl Scout Meeting). Additionally, there are homes, churches, and government buildings—some of which I will cover in future posts, so check back!