Over half of one of the tourist brochures we picked up about Savannah listed "must visit" restaurants. Savannah is a foodie town. We took this as a sign and booked a food tour. It's always fun to learn about a town through its cuisine.
Savannah has a long and colorful history. It was part of the Georgia colony founded by James Ogelthorope in 1733 as a planned community. His intention was to provide a place for religious freedom and an opportunity for convicts who had been arrested for petty crimes like stealing food. The city was laid out around four open squares, each surrounded by four residential blocks and four civic blocks.The original plan was part of a larger regional plan that included gardens, farms, and outlying villages.
The food tour included some of the picturesque open squares which have been retained all these years and the river front where everyone first arrived. The river front buildings functioned as warehouses for cotton and tobacco and you can still see burn marks on some of the walls from the frequent fires the city endured in its early history. There is a fine line between preserving old buildings for hundreds of years and allowing an area to get a run-down, neglected look. The neighborhood squares are beautiful and surrounded by lovingly restored homes, but the riverfront could use a face lift in spots. After the raw cotton was hauled to England to be made into cloth, the ships returned with stones which were used as ballast. Today they line the riverfront walkways and roads and are a challenge to walk on. Historic preservationists won't allow the stones to be removed; that's the challenge of being a historic city.
If you don't want to take a food tour here, there are many too many ghost tours also on offer. Our food tour guide threw in a few too many ghost stories; I prefer my history straight without imaginative details, but when he pointed out that all the historic squares had trees dripping with Spanish moss except for the two squares where public hangings were regularly conducted, it made us wonder. Explain that.