~ Architecture ~ Design ~ Art + Photography ~ TV + Film ~ Muse ~

On 9:03 AM by Rachel Preston Prinz in
Savannah is a city of green squares, beautiful riverfront, gracious southern charm, and... a kind of subtle darkness and mystery that reminds me of New Orleans.  

She's beautiful, and has a slow southern drawl in the way she speaks, tastes, and moves...

For our tour, we wanted to do a self-guided walk, though segway and carriage tours abound. I just wanted to feel her pulse without interruption, or interpretation. I care less about her history than her texture. I wanted to take that all in in my own way.

So I printed out the Savannah walking guide and started marking it up with places I knew I wanted to visit, based on historical architecture I knew I didn't want to miss, as well as recommendations from Southern Living and Garden and Gun Magazines.  I also researched highlights from some of the better known walking tour companies so I'd know where the "best" stuff was. What we found was that the squares the tour companies frequent have some of the best KNOWN architecture, and surely some of the most interesting stories, like having scenes from Forest Gump filmed there, and also the largest crowds... but really... the best of Savannah is only gleaned when walking off the beaten path.
Here's my exact map, click on it to print it full size!

There's too much here to describe in detail, but suffice it to say to bring a large memory card for photography. There is so much to see! Historic homes, the only Gothic Revival synagogue in the US,  seriously impressive history and homes which reflect that, SCAD's impressive preservation and adaptive reuse projects...

For eating, we found the 2 hour wait at Ms. Wilkes boarding house to amount too much to a cliche and be too touristy for our taste, though we heard the food was good. We enjoyed Local 11 Ten farm-to-table for the foodies, as well as B. Matthews Eatery for the BEST southern brunch and fabulous hand-made bloody marys, Circa 1975 Gastropub for decent French faire, Jazz'd for tapas, Soho South Cafe for lunch, Paris Market for mid-day coffee, and Zunzis for a picnic lunch takeout to one of the plazas to take it all in.

Don't miss architectural stops include the Evangelical Lutheran Church on Wright Square, Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, E.Shaver booksellers on Bull Street, ShopSCAD also on Bull Street, the impeccable SCAD project the Gryphon Tea room for afternoon tea, the Lucas Theater for the Arts self-guided tour, Bonaventure Cemetery's angels, and be sure to visit the Tybee Island Lighthouse and walk the beach at sunset!

Savannah has an incredible vibe, and the people could not be more pleasant. I hope you enjoy your visit. And I hope this map and tips and tricks helps you to really enjoy her gifts!