5 Must-Have Savannah Moments
Founded in 1733, the oldest city in Georgia is going through a growth spurt as the big 3-0-0 approaches. With a whole roster of new hotels, and others in the works, the competition for heads in beds is heating up -- as are, by extension, the deals.
Of course, however divine your digs, what lies beyond their walls -- in all its Spanish moss-draped glory -- is fabulous, too. Here, five signature experiences.
Meet a world-famous cover girl
... the one from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The face that launched a thousand trips (to Savannah), the sensational novel's cover girl -- in statue form -- has become something of a pilgrimage site. Just be aware that this bronze figure with outstretched arms -- commonly known as "Bird Girl" -- no longer resides in Bonaventure Cemetery. Because of vandalism, she was moved to the Jepson Center for the Arts downtown.
See a ghost
Known as America's most haunted city, Savannah is home to a million ghost stories -- and ghost tours. If you're intrigued but scare easily, opt for one of the walking tours of the historic district's fabled haunts: The neighborhood allows open containers, so you can have a calming tonic in hand as your guide introduces you to the resident restless spirits. In fact, some of the walking ghost tours are also pub crawls -- the ultimate two-birds-with-one-stone outing.
Line up for lunch
For all the amazing gourmet fare in this city -- with hot new restaurants and celebrity chefs cropping up almost as fast as the hotels -- treat yourself to a down-home local institution: Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, where the slogan is "If the colonel made chicken this good, he'd be a general." Join the line early for lunch and get ready to stuff yourself silly on all-you-can-eat Southern comfort food (fried chicken, black-eyed peas, rutabega, mashed potatoes ... the works) with newfound friends at a communal dining table.
Save room for dessert
Leopold's Ice Cream is another can't-miss Savannah institution, where the hand-churned flavors are divine. Think honey almond and cream or peanut butter chippy.
Hit the beach
Only a 20-minute drive from the city, "Savannah's beach" -- aka Tybee Island -- makes for the loveliest little getaway. And with winter temperatures often reaching the 60s, now is a great time to go. While the human crowds may be thinned out, you'll find amazing avian visitors on the North Beach Birding Trail by the lighthouse. You can also rent a bike, kayak or just bask in the fact that you have the beach basically to yourself.