After a weekend in Historic Savannah Georgia and I am looking forward of the Publix Savannah Women’s Half and 5k now more than ever. Thanks to Visit Savannah and the Savannah Sports Council for so graciously hosting my weekend. I realized while there, need to share tips on How to make your Savannah Race the Bast Vacation Ever.
We had an amazing location based at the Hilton Garden Inn in the Historic District, really walking distance to EVERYTHING and convenient and super yummy restaurant too. Here are my five must do’s to make your race the best vacation ever in Savannah:
1. Take a City Tour
Whether Trolley, Carriage, Ghost, River Boat, Pub Crawl, Segway or Walking – learn all about what makes Savannah so unique and the rich history of this Southern Port city. Its flat and the grid system makes it easy to get around.
We decided to try out out the WHITE trolley, Old Savannah Tours based on it being locally owned and operated (I like supporting the locals) and were told sometimes historical and movie characters jump aboard. Hey it didn’t happen to us, but I am so glad we picked this company. Lasting a little over an hour and a half, our 9th generation Savannah native gave us his personal tour of the 15 stops along the way. Christopher our guide was quite the entertainer as he educated us on Savannah’s history and historic area.
We had planned to do the off and on tour, but we loved Christopher so much, we stayed on to hear his narrative and tidbits. After we were done with our tour, we walked back to the some attractions we wanted to visit.
2. Walk the Historic District
With 2.5 square miles, Savannah is the largest urban historic district in the US. The preserved beauty and architecture of the city is like that of no other. Savannah was founded in 1733, the first planned city in the United States and the historic district has reclaimed 24 of the original 26 squares – a tip I learned from my Tour Guide Christopher. With this much preservation, you owe it to yourself for a treat for the eyes. Walking among the Live Oaks with their gentle canopy and serene Spanish moss in the trees, take in springtime in Savannah after the Women’s Half and 5k!
We walked some of the Publix Savannah Womens’s Half and 5k race route and its got to be the most gorgeous neighborhood route in the US.
Hey, you will need to walk after the race for muscle recovery, perfect city to make your walks enjoyable. Plenty of places to stop to between River Street, City Market and Broughton Street.
TIP: Wear comfortable shoes. While most of the sidewalks and streets are modern materials, some areas in the parks and on River Street are still Ballast Stone ( like cobble stone) which make heels a little treacherous. Never fear, the race course is all modern, no stones!
3. Eat Eat Eat
Hey you ran a race, you earned some yummy eats. Being in the south, close to the ocean, no shortage of good food.
“Hey Y’all!!!! ” Want some Southern Fare, try the Paula Deen’s restaurant The Lady and Sons. Our trolley tour guide Christopher said if it wasn’t cooked in butter, you know it was deep fried – that tidbit made me smile. Hey, we can’t eat like this everyday but special occasions, YES!
Want to enjoy brunch on the historic River Street watching the boats come in? Try Hueys on the River for some Beignets and New Orleans inspired cooking. The hubs and I split a shrimp po-boy after our beignet appetizer and I have to rave on how fresh the shrimp was, simple sandwich alive with flavors.
While one would not think of Pizza being southern specialty for ‘za fans, try out Vinnie Van GoGo’s . OMG, this pizza is one of the best – I think it rivals with Pizza up in NYC. NOTE, this local establishment, located in City Market, is CASH only and can have a wait, but its so worth it. You can also order Pizza to go and eat outside the restaurant on one of the many benches. We did this and enjoyed listening to a band playing while we ate.
The choices of cuisine are a plenty, casual southern, upscale and all kinds of good eats. We noticed prices are reasonable for a touristy are, which is a huge plus too. Good thing Savannah is a walking friendly city to burn off all the goodness. Hey you are on vacation, ENJOY!
4. Tour A Historic Home (or Two)
After our Trolley tour, we knew we HAD to see the inside of one of the glorious homes. With so many restored homes you must go inside one to get a glimpse of what life in Savannah was like or is like now.
We chose the Isaiah Davenport House – based on our tour guide Christopher’s recommendation. While not flashy or opulent, this home completed in 1820 is the house that started 50 years of Savannah’s historic preservation movement. Once a glorious Federal style home of a self made artisan and architect Isaiah Davenport and family, the showcase home ended up as a dilapidated tenement. Threatened with the wrecking ball, seven concerned women raised the $23,000 to spare it from the wrecking ball – literally within hours of planned demise, and this home became the first preserved under the Historic Savannah Foundation.
My husband was amazed by the carpentry all done by hand, no power tools back in the early 1800’s. My daughter loved hearing about family life in the 1820’s and the 6 children who grew up in this home. I enjoyed hearing about the restoration process including the wall paper decor of the times and the function of each room and piece of furniture. Our whole family enjoyed the tour.
For those running the Publix Savannah Women’s Half, want to extend your weekend? The Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens will be celebrating it’s 80th year the same weekend. Tickets are still available.
From Website: “The Savannah Tour of Homes & Gardens offers a rare opportunity to enter some of Savannah’s finest private homes and admire the special furnishings that have been treasured by families for generations but seldom seen by visitors. In addition to home and garden walking tours, you can also enjoy some exclusive special events as well as some of the best food and hospitality the South has to offer.”
So many homes to tour, so little time. Do yourself a favor and step inside a home. Trust me on this one!
5. Celebrate Your Finish
Back in my youth, you went to Savannah and hung out on River Street, we loved Spanky’s. Well River Street is still a happening place and Spanky’s is still there. Recent revitalization has added to your options, City Market, Broughton Street, LOTS of options for however you celebrate. AND for those who enjoy a cocktail or two, Savannah has an open container law…you can get a drink to go from an establishment and walk around. Of course you can’t drive but hey, its nice to be able to stroll with a nice refreshing beverage.
We enjoyed listening to the bands playing at City Market, that was free entertainment and there were several establishments to get drinks to go, so you could hang and listen while sippin’.
Like Dueling Piano Bars? Savannah has Savannah Smiles, I do love me a good piano bar!
I feel like I need to celebrate with dinner at The Olde Pink House. We didn’t fit it in our trip, but I want to go there so badly. It gets RAVE reviews and recommended by most many of my friends.
Whether River Street, City Market or whether you choose to celebrate, you have so many options! For more info on what to do in Savannah check out Visit Savannah and follow on Facebook and @VisitSavannah on Twitter.
I had so much fun on my trip I need to do some more detailed follow up posts. Its truly one of my favorite cities in the US to visit, there is no place like it. While the focus of your weekend is of course running the streets of Savannah, make sure you take some time to enjoy all the city has to offer.
Thanks again to Visit Savannah and Savannah Sports Council the wonderful tour of the city, we only scratched the surface on our weekend and cannot wait to do more!
Want to run fun race? Sign up for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half and 5k, though its a limited size race. Use code RWR10 to save yourself $10 on registration. Its flat, scenic and just the right size!
What do you like to do when on a Race Vacation? Have you been to Savannah? Will I see you at the race?
Disclosure: As a race ambassador for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half and 5k, I was provided lodging and a pass to visit Savannah Attractions at no cost. I chose the attractions we visited based on personal preferences and all opinions stated here are my own.
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