Savannah is just one of those cities that oozes Southern charm. This was my third visit to this charming city in Georgia, and hopefully not my last, because I truly love this town more each time I stop by. Its location serves as a perfect day trip from Hilton Head Island, only a 45-minute drive away. Considering the soaring summer temperatures, we planned to arrive early to beat the heat as much as possible and left by 3:00 pm when temperatures peak. This visit was extra special because for once, my husband actually planned the itinerary which is something that I always have done in our past adventures. I loved being led by him around town to check out the spots he deemed visit-worthy. He executed a pretty impressive itinerary and my children and I have forgiven him for the imperfect planning and the never-ending walk in the heat "to the river" (i.e River Street). We have given him a pass, just this once!
We started our route at the Mikve Israel Synagogue, the third oldest Jewish congregation in the US, built-in 1733. Conde Nast names it as one of the 15 most beautiful synagogues in the world. Surprisingly, there are 400 families in the congregation today. I had no idea there was a Jewish community in Savannah!
We continued our walk towards Forsyth Park, one of the most romantic parks I've ever been to (not surprising since it is inspired by French park landscaping designs). As you walk towards the iconic fountain you are surrounded by oak trees draped in Spanish moss and quickly become enveloped by floral fragrances and lush landscaping. It's just a little piece of shaded heaven.
The Historic District is where we seemed to get tripped up. The walk there from Forsyth Park was not shaded, nor scenic. We were disappointed when we finally arrived to find a less impressive architectural style and a lack of greenery. Since we are trying to be as conscientious as possible during Covid, we did not check out any of the museums that cover the area. The sun was pounding down so we decided to walk "to the river" which put us at another hour of trekking through the heat, but we made it, finally! The last time we visited Savannah was on St. Patrick's Day and River Street was packed with people celebrating. It was a stark contrast to see how bare the crowd was this time around. Our kids were not fond of this area- too hot and lots of homeless people- but when I found online stories of the ghosts from the past who like to visit, they quickly came around. Since River Street is a bunch of shops and restaurants, and we were unable to enjoy either due to Covid, we didn't get to enjoy the area as much as we normally would.
Next, we walked over to Emmet Park to grab a shaded spot in the grass and to refuel and re-energize with our takeout lunch from B Matthew Eatery followed by ice cream at Leopold's. My almond buttercream scoop was dee-lish and just what I needed to keep me cool as we continued to walk the city.
On our drive to Savannah, I read the kids stories of its haunted past and common ghost sightings. They were mesmerized by all the tales and eye witness accounts of these tortured spirits lurking around. When we stopped by The Davenport House and Sorrel Weed House they already knew all about its haunted past and were glued to the buildings asking questions and imaging the distressed deaths around the love triangle in the Sorrel Weed House.
Our oldest son wanted to visit Chippewa Square to find the famous bench scene shot at the beginning of "Forrest Gump". We walked around in circles trying to find it until I finally found an article on google informing us that the bench was an added prop in the movie and cannot be found in the park. Oops! We got to see a beautiful bride and her wedding party instead.
There is so much history in Savannah, the architecture and landscaping takes me away to another era, the people exude southern hospitality, I just love it! Despite this Covid Era, most people were still walking around unmasked, except in stores/restaurants. Leopold's did a good job allowing no more than 12 customers into the parlor at a time. We never leave the house without our masks, Purell and wipes. I wipe down every spoon, ice cream cup, take out container, water bottle, etc... At first, it was daunting to frantically wipe everything down so I didn't see the purpose of dining out but now that we have gotten used to this new normal it has really opened up a whole new world for us as we can begin to enjoy take out meals, ice cream treats, restaurants, etc... In fact, in this magical city, my kids hit some swings in a park for the first time in months (yes, I wiped down the swing seats and metal chains too, ha!) Savannah broke me into this new willingness to enjoy these small outings and for that, I love her, even more, the third time around.