Savannah for Sweethearts

This coastal Georgia town is ripe with romance.

Forsyth Park in Savannah

Savannah’s moss-strewn live oaks and charming parks and squares make the perfect backdrop for a dose of romance. The historic district’s magical charm has made it a world-famous destination for lovers who often can be spotted strolling the cobblestone streets hand-in-hand. Join the quixotic crowd for a getaway that will transport you back more than 125 years and make you fall in love all over again.

Book a room at the Azalea Inn & Gardens, where the restored 19th century architecture features 21st century amenities like a hidden garden pool and 10 rooms with private baths — some with jetted tubs or gas fireplaces. Just a few blocks away, the iconic Mansion on Forsyth Park overlooks one of the city’s most recognized green spaces, the 30-acre Forsyth Park with its ornate two-tiered, cast-iron fountain. The Victorian Romanesque mansion hotel features a European art collection, pool, spa and lobby adorned in Versace furnishings.

For a more intimate property, the 17-room Hamilton-Turner Inn — set among the magnolias of Lafayette Square — delights with sweet treats in the afternoon and evening hors d’oeuvres and wine in the parlor, providing ample opportunities to reconnect with each other and meet other guests. The Kehoe House, a restored 1892 Renaissance Revival mansion, is another fitting spot to retreat with your loved one. Planters Inn Hotel, which offers a deluxe fireplace room for cuddling, is adjacent to The Olde Pink House, the perfect locale for a memorable meal.

Several other Savannah restaurants offer ideal settings for romance-filled meals. Feast on contemporary Southern cuisine and fresh local seafood in an old cotton warehouse at Vic’s On The River, or visit Elizabeth on 37th, where the chef cooks up dishes using fresh coastal seafood and produce, house-grown herbs and edible flowers in a 1900s mansion. At Sapphire Grill, the menu is also driven by what Chef Christopher Nason calls “fresh market cuisine,” using local and regional organic ingredients. (Share dishes like benne encrusted local black grouper or braised littleneck clams and charred Spanish octopus.) For a more casual meal, Circa 1875’s French gastro pub fare is served with a side of classic jazz. For live music six nights a week and creative cocktails, visit the swanky underground Jazz’d Tapas Bar.

Along with flavorful fare, Savannah is a destination rich in history and culture. Learn its storied past and take in the sights via a dreamy horse-drawn carriage ride — Carriage Tours of Savannah’s 50-minute narrated tours come with the “clip-clop” sound of hooves hitting the streets. For a tour atop the Savannah River, book a cruise with Savannah Riverboat Cruises, where trips range from sightseeing and dinner excursions to brunch and moonlight tours on a paddle-wheel riverboat.

If you prefer to explore on foot, grab a map and take your time discovering Savannah’s nooks and crannies. See the works of a range of highly acclaimed professional artists at the SCAD Museum of Art, and walk the halls of exquisitely restored homes before relaxing over a picnic in one of the city’s 22 historic squares.

The recently restored Ellis Square is adjacent to City Market, a four-block area of restored grain warehouses with art studios, shops and sidewalk eateries. More shopping can be done at Broughton Street, lined with designer boutiques. Share an indulgent hot fudge sundae at Leopold's Ice Cream.

The waterfront River Street District, a cobblestone stretch of riverside parks surrounded by galleries, boutiques and restaurants in old cotton warehouses, is another great place to stroll.

As you sit together, watching the ships come in at the water’s edge, you’ll understand Savannah’s undeniable draw and why couples — dating, newlywed or celebrating a golden anniversary — flock to it for its array of attractions and whimsical old-world ambiance.

Published: March 2014