In 1864, the “March to the Sea”, but Savannah was spared of a fiery war fate, which explains its abundance of preserved historical structures. Since the 1950s, efforts have been ongoing to protect these places while allowing visitors to experience them up close. A trip to Savannah isn’t complete without stopping at these enriching sites.
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Davenport House Museum
In 1955, The Isaiah Davenport House started it all by triggering a revival of Savannah history after it was almost torn down. Thankfully, the American Federal-style house stands today as a portal into the past, with intriguing artifacts and architecture. Set within the Columbia Square in the Savannah Historic District, a visit can conveniently fit into your itinerary.
The former estate has been beautifully repurposed in a number of ways that allow visitors to soak into its beauty and past. Several oak lined trails loop in and around the woods, making for an interesting place to take a nature hike. Guests can choose to have a historically dressed guide take them on a tour, which begins at the museum, or you can go solo. Wormsloe spans over 500 acres, and you’ll definitely want to hit up the tabby house ruins, which were built in 1745, making the structure the oldest, still standing, in Savannah. You’ll notice a unique mixture of sand, limestone and seashells were used to make the walls.
Pin Point Heritage Museum
Pin Point is on the banks of the Moon River, and hosts a community with a unique African-Creole culture known as Gullah/Geechee. At the Museum, visitors can explore artifacts, artwork and exhibits, while being able to witness technique demonstrations, like those used for net making. Located in what was previously known as the A.S. Varn & Son oyster and shrimp factory, the Pin Point Heritage Museum is a significant cultural experience on the Georgia Coast.
While not as old as the Colonial Park Cemetery established in 1750, Bonaventure is aesthetically the most dramatically gorgeous resting place in Savannah. Draping moss and whisking trees accent the extravagant headstones and monuments–there’s nothing quite like it. While a bit creepy, Bonaventure is also strangely calming, especially when setting by the reflection pond in the Greenwich section, which has also been featured in older films. Both cemeteries are rumored to be haunted, and you can take a late night tour if you’re feeling brave.
Congregation Mickve Israel
Founded by original Jewish settlers in 1733, this synagogue is the third oldest in the United States, and the only one to display its particular style of architecture, referred to as Neo-Gothic. Popularized in England, the dramatic peaks, decorative patterns and mouldings used in construction are beautifully pronounced. There’s a small replica of the boat in which the settlers landed on the beaches of Savannah, at the place of worship. Visitors are completely welcomed to take a tour and attend a service. Tours are free, but $5 donations are appreciated.
Old Fort Jackson
Titled as the oldest brick fortification in Georgia, Old Fort Jackson, aka Fort James Jackson, is also one of the oldest of its kind in the US. Located on the Savannah River, guests are treated to a live action demonstration of Civil War times, complete with cannon blasts—it’s one of the most exciting historical experiences. Adult tickets are $8, and little ones two to 12 get in for $4.
Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace
If visiting the birthplace of the woman who founded the Girl Scouts doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will. Without her, there’d be no Do-Si-Dos, no Samoas! But more importantly, she’s iconic for instilling strength, confidence and empowerment in our young ladies. The lavish home is brimming with 1800s era antiques and décor–guided tours take place Monday through Saturday and last about 40 minutes.
Georgia State Railroad Museum
Train buffs rejoice! Learn, in depth, about locomotive past by riding on steam and diesel trains, pumping your way down the track on a real handcar and seeing artifacts up close and in person. A working turntable is even available for demonstration. Located at the Central of Georgia Railway Savannah Shops, there’s quite a bit to see and do at what is thought to be the most complete Antebellum facility left on earth.
First African Baptist Church
Undoubtedly one the most inspiring landmarks in the coastal town happens to be one of the first African American churches established in the U.S. Iconic for being a safe haven for slaves, First African Baptist Church was a connecting portion of the Underground Railroad. Tours inside are available, and original attributes of the church are still intact, even the vent holes in the floor for those having to hide during the tumultuous time.