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Enchanting by day, and hauntingly beautiful by night, Savannah, Georgia offers up its history with a soupçon of style. Designated as one of the largest National Historic Landmark districts in the United States, a short 2-½ hour flight from New York City transports you back to the 18th century, where cobblestone streets collide with contemporary shopping, food, and drink.
Savannah’s leafy and massive Spanish moss-covered trees shade 22 notable squares scattered throughout town, laid out in an easy-to-navigate grid created by General James Oglethorpe in 1733. Quiet and relaxing respites, the squares are miracles of modern urban planning–gathering places, children’s play areas, impromptu concert spaces, and memorial markers–as well as the location of some of the city’s most glorious antebellum homes.
Antique and architecture aficionados will be thrilled that many historic homes have tours or have been converted into restaurants or inns. The circa-1820 Isaiah Davenport House, now authentically restored and functioning as a museum, was rescued in 1955, a scant 24 hours before its scheduled demolition. A team of concerned women saved it, then founded the Historic Savannah Foundation, allowing for hundreds of the cities “crown jewels” to be preserved.
A Shopper’s Treasure
Sip, stroll, and shop your way around town for all things current. The Savannah College of Art and Design is here, and ShopSCAD is the place to buy unique jewelry, apparel, and accessories. The several blocks of Broughton, Savannah’s main street, includes outposts of Club Monaco, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors. Explore the side streets extending off the squares for stylish stops like Harper, a boutique on Bull Street whose light-filled, minimalist interior showcases fashion-forward womenswear. Duck into Satchel, the studio/workshop on Liberty Street to peruse ready-made accessories, or choose from numerous leathers, linings, and hardware to create your own custom handbags, wristlets, and totes.
French ambiance personifies two shops on Broughton. Chocolat by Adam Turoni is a Louis XIV-inspired goody box full of gourmet sweets that are piled high on silver platters. The Paris Market and Brocante covers two levels of exquisitely curated must-haves, and is a sensory experience, not just a store. Stylish finds for the home in this global bazaar include new dinnerware, glassware, crystal chandeliers, and decorative accessories, as well as vintage pieces. For contemporary high-end home furnishings and lighting, wander around 24e Design Co.
Sophisticated dining is easily found. Take high tea in a former apothecary named Gryphon, with its carved mahogany bookcases and stained glass. The Collins Quarter serves fresh, innovative cuisine inside a well-designed, casual café and outside on sidewalk tables. Dine at The Grey for elevated, contemporary Southern cuisine (foie gras and grits) in a meticulously renovated former Greyhound bus station full of classic Art Deco touches.
Top the evening off with a nightcap alongside the fashionable crowd at The Artillery, an iconic landmark building that highlights the bar’s modern mixology. Or, pop in next door to the mid-century inspired Public Kitchen and Bar, where on a balmy night you can imbibe a glass of rosé on the wrought iron balcony.
Savannah truly personifies style, treasuring the historic while embracing the present.
Photographs courtesy Ruta Fox, The Artillery, Public Kitchen and Bar, Paris Market and Brocante, The Grey, Davenport House Museum
By Ruta Fox