“We have a saying: If you go to Atlanta, the first question people ask you is, ‘What’s your business?’ In Macon they ask, ‘Where do you go to church?’ In Augusta, they ask your grandmother’s maiden name. But in Savannah, the first question people ask you is, ‘What would you like to drink?’”
That hospitality combined with an ethereal beauty accented by Savannah’s notoriety as one of the most haunted cities in America makes for a memorable destination. Legend has it that during his March to the Sea during the Civil War, Sherman didn’t burn Savannah because it was “too pretty.” No matter the reason, the result is a city with European flare thanks to an orderly grid layout featuring 22 squares full of live oaks draped with lace-like Spanish moss. Designed by colony founder General Oglethorpe, visitors will catch glimpses of history at every turn, and the open container policy means you never have to stroll through the cobblestone streets without a glass of wine in hand.
All photos by Gary Russell
Bed and Breakfasts of Savannah
For a taste of Southern hospitality in homes that date back to 1800s, opt to stay in one of the six establishments that make up Bed and Breakfasts of Savannah. Try for example The Gastonian, named one of the best small hotels in the world. Each lodging option sits in a different area of Savannah, but all serve a pre-dinner wine and cheese hour and showcase traditional, exquisite decorations that would please any Southern belle (or gent). With manicured courtyards and beautiful fountains, plus hearty breakfasts, you can’t go wrong from this accommodations group.
220 East Gaston Street
Meinhardt Winery’s Tasting Room in City Market
One of the must-see areas of Savannah is City Market, which pays homage to the former center of commerce dating back to the 1700s. Now a bustling pedestrian area with restaurants, art galleries, live music and boutique stores, one shop serves as a tasting room for the hour-away Meinhardt Vineyards & Winery. A sampling of five of their sweet wines is only $5 and across the street, a slightly different variety of their wines can be tasted as well.
306 W. Julian Street
For a special treat, arrange a carriage tour with wine for a unique way to experience the Historic District of downtown Savannah. Both Carriage Tours of Savannah and Savannah Carriage Tours offer wine packages. You’ll see Federal, Gothic-Revival, Italianate and many other architectural gems that run the gamut of Early Victorian styles. Most nights, music can be heard trickling out of one of the many taverns that dot the downtown area.
See websites for pickup locations.
Forsyth Park serves as Savannah’s playground, with the expansive lawn filled with dogs catching Frisbees, rugby and soccer teams practicing and live music showcased in the band shell. It’s home to events such as the Savannah Jazz Festival and the cherished Picnic in the Park, which gives awards for best picnic setup. The event is lit by the glow of candlelight from participants’ blankets. Forsyth is perfect for a wine picnic anytime!
Intersection of Bull and Gaston streets
Local 11 Ten Food & Wine