Put on your best southern accent and get ready to tour Savannah. Catriona takes a horse-drawn carriage through this beautiful city.
Savannah in Georgia's Deep South is known as "The Lady With the Dirty Face", but in fact it is one of America's most beautiful and gracious cities. It has a history of secrets spun around days of moonshining, slavery and dubious money. It was one of the cities that General Sherman did not burn he just took their cotton and gave Savannah as a Christmas gift to President Lincoln in 1864.
The city was founded in 1733 and was the first English settlement in the new colony of Georgia and North America's first city designed around a grid of squares. These beautiful, shady squares can be seen by walking, by trolley or carriage. Somehow the carriage seems most appropriate. Historic Savannah Carriage Tours take you around the squares and your guide gives a story about each one, as well as the history behind the buildings.
The squares all have a history and were laid in respect or memory of a famous person or battle Calhoun, Chatham, Chippewa, Ellis, Wright, Columbia, Crawford, Elbert. Savannah also has more than 20 historic parks.
In 1955 the magnificent Davenport House was on the verge of being flattened; a local campaign not only saved it from destruction but went on to have over 1000 federal and regency buildings restored. The buildings range from churches and private homes to the ornate Customs House.
The recent Kevin Spacey film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil has been responsible for an enormous increase in the number of visitors to Savannah. The film is full of quirky characters and the beautiful music (and former home) of Johnny Mercer.
John Duncan is the perfect example of white southern hospitality. In his 70s with perfect white hair, he is tall and always wears white suits. He runs an antiques and books store in the riverfront plaza and loves chatting Savannah. He had a part in Midnight and knows all there is to know about it.
The Negro Heritage Tour proudly depicts 250 years of African American heritage in Savannah, taking you from the days of cotton slavery to current times.
Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of America movement and you can visit her home. You can also see Congregation Mickve Israel, America's oldest Jewish Reform synagogue. And there are some beautiful churches where you can hear an inspirational service as well as some Southern gospel singing.
Good places to eat are found along the waterfront on River and Bay streets or City Market. Accommodation is wide and varied, from camping on Tybee Island to motels, hotels, inns and guesthouses. The Savannah Visitors Bureau can offer good advice about location and value for money.
Savannah, in the state of Georgia in America's south.
Historic Savannah Carriage Tours start at around $30 for an adult and $12 for a child.
Negro Heritage Tours are organised through the Savannah Visitors’ Center and cost around $25 for adults and $12 for children.
Qantas flies daily to Los Angeles starting at $1840 from Melbourne, $1842 from Brisbane, $1854 from Sydney, $2237 from Adelaide, $2624 from Darwin and $2691 from Perth, per person. American Airlines has onward flights to Georgia.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.
Savannah Tourist Bureau: Ph: 0011 1 912 644 6435www.savannah-visit.com
Qantas: 13 1313