Savannah, Georgia

Photo: Perry Lane Hotel

Your next trip to Savannah is going to be very different than previous ones. You won’t be touring historic homes and museums. You can’t hop between edgy art galleries and hip bars. You also shouldn’t linger along the cool riverfront, moss-draped parks, or award-winning restaurants. That doesn’t mean you should stay away.

General James Oglethorpe first set up a British settlement along the Savannah River in 1733. Less than 20 years later, the growing city was named the capital of the Georgia Colony. Savannah became a strategic port for the cotton trade, the American Revolution, and the Civil War. It was even named the first capital of Georgia between the two wars.

Savannah is now home to one of the largest historic districts in the United States. Cobblestone streets, antebellum mansions, and horse-drawn carriages still fill Downtown Savannah. Elegant parks feature old oak trees and ornate fountains. They’re ringed by colorful bed and breakfasts that have been carefully restored. Markets, shops, and restaurants flow onto the sidewalks. While locals welcome visitors with big smiles and strong cocktails. No wonder it’s known as the Hostess City of the South.

Photo: Perry Lane Hotel

Your hotel may be new, but it feels like it’s been part of the community for a very long time. Perry Lane is spread across two buildings in between Chippewa Square and Colonial Park Cemetery. Green vines tumble down the outside of its grey brick buildings. High ceilings, black-and-white marble floors, and wooden furniture give the lobby a retro vibe. Plantation-stye shutters and leather chairs enhance that feeling in the library. Modern art is never far from sight, though.

Nor is a good cocktail. The Emporium Kitchen & Wine Market is in the main building. The open space has a coffee bar, a deli, a gelato stand, and a wine bar and shop in addition to its bistro-style restaurant. Expect Southern touches (house-made pimento cheese) to be added to familiar dishes and fresh fruit to improve classic cocktails (a Pimm’s Cup becomes a Polo Club).

The Wayward and Peregrin are across the street in the tower. The former offers cocktail demonstrations and new creations based upon the spirit (tequila or whiskey), style (shaken or stirred), and flavor profile (herbaceous or tart) that you select. The latter, one of the best rooftop bars in the city, serves frozen drinks around the year-round pool and AstroTurf lawn games. A great view of the Talmadge Memorial Bridge is included, of course. Even as things change, Savannah’s legendary hospitality remains firmly intact.

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