One Place, Two Ways: Savannah, Georgia

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Whether you’re a ghost hunter seeking out all things paranormal or an outdoor enthusiast in the mood for coastal adventures, Savannah has it all. From dining at haunted taverns to strolling the beach on Tybee Island, here’s two ways to spend the day in Savannah, Georgia.

Ghostbusters & History Lovers

Morning

Kick off the day in Savannah’s Historic District with a bite of breakfast (and possibly ghosts) at B. Matthews Eatery.  Dig into a pipin’ hot plate of biscuits and gravy or a fluffy omelet with a cup of their Rochester coffee (it’s made with bourbon, hazelnut liquor and Irish cream). Watch out for hungry spirits and flying salt and pepper shakers. This eatery is rumored to be haunted by spirits from the slave trade days – there’s even creepy tunnels beneath it that run to the Savannah River!

Next, journey to the past on a self-guided historic home tour (most home tours are first come, first serve and require a small fee). Learn about domestic life in the 1850s at the Andrew Low House, the home of a Scottish immigrant who made a name for himself in Savannah. See unique furnishings from the 18th century and check out the charming gardens. At the Owens-Thomas House, explore interactive exhibits and meticulously designed period rooms filled with decorative art in a Regency-style mansion. Be wary of spirits when you tour the haunted Mercer-Williams House. Built during the Civil War, the home showcases the private collection of preservationist James A. Williams, from portraits and antique clocks to Chinese porcelain. It’s believed Williams’ ghost haunts the property along with the spirit of murder victim Danny Hansford, the event that inspired the popular film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Afternoon

Grab lunch at The Olde Pink House, one of Savannah’s most iconic restaurants located in a 1700s-era colonial mansion. While enjoying the famous she-crab soup (a rich blend of crab and cream), you might hear unexplainable footsteps or the occasional door closing on its own – the restaurant is said to be haunted by the ghost of the original owner.

The Olde Pink House in Savannah, Georgia. Photo Credit: Melanie McCue.

Alternatively, dine at The Pirate’s House, where you’ll pair Southern staples like gumbo and award-winning fried chicken with the mysterious sights and sounds of pirate spirits. Where’s the Ghostbusters when you need them?

After lunch, dive into the city’s storied past at the Savannah History Museum, where you’ll begin in 1733 and finish in the present day. Check out more than 10,000 artifacts on all things Savannah – from Forrest Gump’s bench to songwriter Johnny Mercer’s Oscar awards – along with exhibits on everything from Indigenous American cultures to the Revolutionary War. Next, visit the Georgia State Railroad Museum. See historic railcars and engines on display in the roundhouse, experience working an authentic handcar, and learn about Georgia’s railroad history on a guided tour.

Evening

Make your way back to the Historic District for dinner at Six Pence Pub, an authentic English pub rumored to be housed in a former Civil War morgue. Enjoy traditional British comfort foods like Welsh rarebit (hot cheese on toasted bread) and bangers and mash. Wash it down with a pint of Guinness. Don’t be surprised if you see a shadowy figure or feel a rush of cold air. Another great dinner option with a side of ghosts is Moon River Brewing Company, a spacious brewery that began as a hotel in 1821. Patrons have stated they’ve seen the ghost of a woman in white, heard unexplained noises and seen glasses breaking, so be on alert as you enjoy a craft beer and burger in the beer garden.

After dinner, it’s time to indulge your inner ghost hunter (if you haven’t had your fill of ghouls already). Take the 90-minute Grave Tales Ghost Tour for a frightening combination of ghosts and local history. Keep your wits about you as you explore Colonial Park Cemetery, encounter paranormal activity at Madison Square, and visit the city’s haunted mansions and a Revolutionary War battlefield. Dial up the frights with the terrifying (and adults-only) Dead of Night Ghost Tour. Not for the faint of heart, this ghost tour focuses on the aggressive spirits that plague the city, like Alice Riley, the first woman hanged in Georgia, who is believed to haunt Wright Square – the place of her tragic death.

Outdoor Enthusiasts & Foodies  

Morning

Fuel up at the world-famous Clary’s Cafe, a Savannah staple known for its Southern-style diner classics like eggs benedict and stacks of pancakes swimming in syrup. Be sure to get there early – there’s always a line. Another popular breakfast spot is the Little Duck Diner. Offering up a 1920s diner vibe with a modern twist, this nostalgic spot serves up indulgent breakfast combinations like the risotto stacker – fried cheesy risotto, breakfast sausage, and a sunny-side-up egg.

Tourists on segways in Savannah. Photo Courtesy of Jo Guldi.

Spend the morning seeing the sights around town on a guided segway tour. Cruise the streets in style as you learn all about Savannah’s top historical sites and admire the city’s parks, gardens and colonial-era architecture along the way. If you prefer to explore on foot,  visit the 30-acre Forsyth Park for a stroll on the Spanish moss-lined walkways where countless movies have been filmed, such as Baywatch and Forrest Gump. You may even catch a street performer putting on an impromptu concert!

Afternoon

Take a detour to Tybee Island, a popular barrier island with sprawling beaches just thirty minutes from downtown Savannah by taxi or Uber. Grab a bite at The Crab Shack for stellar seafood (crab stew, anyone?) and fork-tender barbecue in a rustic outdoor setting with views of a tidal creek, gator lagoon, and bird menagerie. Or, dine beachside at the island’s only oceanfront restaurant, The Deck. Indulge in street tacos and burgers paired with a frozen cocktail, such as a mudslide or daiquiri.   

While on the island, check out the Tybee Island Lighthouse, a historic light station where you can trek up 178 steps to experience panoramic views of the ocean and lush island greenery (bring a camera). The lighthouse is open daily for tours, except on Tuesdays and some holidays. Nearby, book a bird walk or marsh trek at the Tybee Island Marine Science Center for a coastal adventure. Explore Georgia’s marine life up close in a gallery showcasing up to 300 live creatures at a time – including baby alligators, sea turtles, clownfish, and sea jellies. 

Evening

Head back to Savannah for dinner at Paula Deen’s The Lady and Sons Restaurant for a cozy family-style meal. Indulge in authentic Southern dishes like crispy fried chicken, broccoli casserole, and collard greens. For breathtaking river views and mouthwatering small plates, opt for Myrtle & Rose Rooftop Bar. Sip on botanically inspired cocktails while snacking on shareable bites like the ahi tuna crudo, potato croquettes, and Spanish octopus. 

Round out your day at The Wormhole Neighborhood Pub, a neighborhood dive bar where live music, comedy shows, and karaoke nights take place every week. Afterward, enjoy a dose of nostalgia and a scoop of the famous tutti frutti ice cream at Leopold’s Ice Cream, a historic shop that’s been serving up Savannah’s dessert lovers for over a century.

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