Savannah. The very name sounds like a southern drawl. With its history, cobblestoned streets, old homes and beautiful gardens, Savannah, Georgia, is everything you think a southern city should be. And since Savannah is wild about St. Patrick’s Day – it hosts the country’s second-largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the biggest annual single-day event in the southeast U.S. – March seems a fitting time to spotlight one of the South’s finest cities.
What to see in Savannah
Savannah was America’s first planned city, and architecture is part of its charm. Twenty-four moss-draped squares are lined with Federal, antebellum and Victorian houses. Just strolling the streets on your own is a lovely way to take in the historic style and stately character, but take a horse-drawn carriage tour or visit inside on a home tour to learn the captivating stories behind the long, wide verandas and intricate scrollwork.
For spine-tingling stories, there are a number of ghost tours, as Savannah claims to be one of the most haunted cities in the U.S. Alleged ghosts of children, drunken sailors and Civil War soldiers roam some of the historic buildings. Unexplained sounds of champagne glasses clinking and high-pitched laughter are also reputed to drift from the centuries old monuments of the Bonaventure Cemetery immortalized in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
Savannah Loves to Party
Although Savannah has a slow southern charm about it, Savannah loves any excuse to party. In City Market and along River Street the pace picks up after dark in the many cafes, taverns and nightclubs. Barhopping is the norm because Savannah is one of the few cities in the U.S. that allows open alcohol containers on the street, so to-go cups are du rigueur.
As mentioned, Savannah goes Irish in a big way for St. Patrick’s Day. The fountains of the sedate squares run green and a quarter of a million visitors crowd into the city for a raucous, weekend-long party. The huge parade features about 200 floats and marching bands, music plays on three outdoor stages and the beer flows unceasingly as the Irish and Irish-for-a-day celebrate for several days.
Business Manners Matter in Savannah
Even though Savannah knows how to party, good manners are highly valued – this is the south, after all! Vacationers and business travelers alike should be respectful, polite and slow down to the pace of the low country.
Business may be conducted in seemingly relaxed meetings over a platter of fried chicken, collard greens and corn bread or on the golf course, but that doesn’t belie the weight of the deal being brokered.
The weather of the coastal lowlands is humid year round. Business wear tends to be on the casual side, with men wearing sear sucker or light-weight suits. Business women will be comfortable in dresses and even sundresses in the summer. Travel Maestro tip for ladies: Cobblestones are not stiletto-friendly! Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.
If you’re staying in the historic district, a rental car is really not necessary, as the compact downtown is very walkable and parking can be challenging. Free public shuttles and trolleys operate in the historic district, mainly for the benefit of tourists. A taxi from the airport runs about $30 or some hotels have complimentary shuttles.
Savannah has a delightfully antiquated charm even though it’s the fourth busiest port in the U.S. and a center of international trade. To visit this gracious denizen of the south for business or leisure, contact the helpful advisors at Covington Travel.