Saturday, May 21, 2011
In Savannah, Bed And Breakfasts Are The Way To Go And Stay
By Jefferson Ross
Savannah bed and breakfasts are pure, old world magic. I have nothing against the hotels here but if you're a visitor to The Historic District or Victorian District in The Hostess City, do yourself a favor and go all out. Many come with their own ghosts at no extra charge.
Nothing sets the tone more perfectly than, when you arrive in the evening, for instance, a host will usually greet you, offer you a glass of wine or tea and tell you the story of the house. Most will give you a brief tour. These places are grand reminders of how the high life was lived in Victorian and Colonial era Savannah. They are filled with period antiques and are all within convenient walking distance from the sites and restaurants of downtown.
One of my favorites is the grande dame of them all, The Gastonian, on Gaston Street. This is has been the elite B and B for many decades. The inn is actually comprised of two adjoining Regency-Italianate mansions featuring 17 posh and elegantly furnished guest rooms. You may choose silver tray breakfast-in-bed service or dine with the others downstairs for a big family style morning feast. Across the street, cater corner, is the Palmer-Dresser House and we've stayed there a number of times. Each room is named after a famous Savannahian such as Johnny Mercer, Flannery O'Connor, Juliette Gordon Low, etc. There is a wine store nearby and we like to grab a bottle and sit on their back veranda overlooking the lane and sip and laugh.
If haunted accommodations are your thing, check out The Eliza Thompson House, complete with paranormal Confederate soldiers, The 1790 Inn, with their angry ghost maid, The Kehoe House, formerly a funeral parlor and home of Joe Namath, and Marshall House, which is a cross between a hotel and bed and breakfast and is considered one of the most haunted inns in America. All of these places are quirky, charming and staffed by friendly, knowledgeable folks. Most of the staff have their own tales of eery things that they have witnessed while on duty.
If small and quaint is what you are looking for, check out Joan's On Jones. It's located on my favorite street, the brick paved and oak canopied, Jones Street. It's a brownstone townhouse and they only have 2 guest rooms. I love this place. It's only steps away from Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House and The Crystal Beer Parlor so you know you won't go hungry. And, The Six Pence Pub is only a few minutes' walk away as well.
South of Gaston Street and overlooking Forsyth Park is The Forsyth Park Inn, also haunted, and it may have the most beautiful view of any of the bed and breakfasts.
These houses are not just places to sleep but are rich with the experience of this city...the vibe, if you will. Nestle by a warm hearth, grab a book and a cordial. Sit back in a wing chair and relax. Until you see something scary.
Jefferson Ross is a performing singer songwriter and co-creator of the Savannah Georgia Vibe Guide.