Just down the road from Charleston, you’ll find the lovely town of Savannah (established in 1733). If Charleston is classical, then this town is classical with a little more grittiness.
Charleston is a pure tourist town, while Savannah is a college town, with a preppy, artistic feel to it – the Savannah College of Art and Design has a large campus presence around town which explains the high percentage of artists participating in the local commerce.
The best part of Savannah are the twenty-two squares that are laid out on the metropolitan grid. Spaced every two-three blocks, each commemorates a hero, or contributor to Georgian culture. The downtown is an Historic District, with surrounding blocks designated as a Victorian District.
We spent two solid days in the town, just wandering from square to square, admiring the many colonial style homes, or just browsing the shops. The weekend we were leaving, there was an annual marathon event, when 22,000 runners were showing up in town for a big race.
Maybe not as many restaurants as Charleston – which does not matter to us that much – we did pig out on the all-you-can-eat dinner at ‘The Lady and Her Sons’ – a restaurant run by Paula Deen (famous from the cooking channel – who knew?).
A pretty riverside walk, a dozen restored homes that can be visited, friendly people – it is a great town — maybe our favorite so far.
A twenty minute drive from Savannah drops you onto Tybee Island. Someone said this is like going back to a 1950’s era resort area. They were right. We appreciated the lack of hi-rise condominiums and hotels, and the overdose of bungalow-style accommodations, that did look straight out of the 50’s. A small downtown offers the same swimwear/beach chairs/beach toys that we’ve seen a hundred times. Not much in the way of restaurants, either. Plan on bringing food and cooking in.
The only negative is a harsh policy of parking (enforced 24 hours/day, seven days a week). Nowhere is there free parking – everybody must purchase parking tickets from kiosks. At about a buck/hour, a day at the beach becomes costly. Still, this island is a throwback to what vacations on the beach with your parents must have been like.