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The Best of Savannah Pt. 2

Updated on August 10, 2012

The Best of... Savannah vs. Charleston

If Savannah and Charleston are sister cities then Savannah is the beautiful southern belle and Charleston is the inbred sister. It is no surprise from this start that I think Savannah is by far the more beautiful, interesting and well marketed city. When you stop to ask a local what you absolutely must see in Savannah, they will all tell you the same things! When we stopped to ask someone who lived in Charleston for 20 years what we should see, they couldn't give us a definite answer!

In Savannah, there are a few things that are absolute must see! If you have only one day in the city, I would suggest an early trolley ride with Old Savannah Tours, it is a white, open air trolley. It makes 15 stops, where you can get off and look around then get back on with another trolley, and they will give you a rather extensive history for an hour and a half. Strolling River Street and the City Market make for great souvenirs shopping. These two areas are also art packed and full of beautiful architecture. This city has a wide range of excellent eateries that will leave you amazed. I've heard Clary's is a great breakfast from my mother; Mrs. Wilkes' Boarding House for lunch and the Boars Head and Garibaldi, both for dinner, are excellent. Savannah also has gorgeous squares that all have historic figures and monuments. It is a very breathtaking city packed with history and splendor. The mixture of Southern charm, large live oaks with Spanish moss and sprawling mansion will impress you.

Charleston, also packed with history, lacks quite a bit of charm. It is a larger city that left much to be desired. Maybe my aspirations for this city ran away with themselves, but I was wholey disappointed with everything we saw. We started our day trip with the Magnolia Plantations and Gardens. The acreage was sheer beauty if you really love the outdoors. We saw plenty of alligators and water-fowl. The slave quarters were still standing after multiple fires to the estate, however the actual house on the estate was a major let down. After two fires to the first two houses, the third rebuild was nothing but a rickety farm house. I could have walked outside in Pennsylvania and found the same damn thing, probably better. Maybe watching Gone with the Wind a few days earlier got my hopes up, but frankly Rhett, I don't give a damn. The downtown of Charleston, however, was even more of a let down. They had a few beautiful buildings and churches and they did have the port and slave market but it was a mediocre, at best. The slave market was turned into a chinsy flea market with shameless vendors that repeated the same products over and over. The "Famous" Rainbow Row was a row of townhouse painted in absurd colors and everything except our lunch was subpar. We ate at the Husk on Queen St. off of Meeting St.; their brunch was delicious and the restaurant was in an old, historic house with a beautiful porch.

In conclusion, the outcome of this experiment was bleek. I had high hopes for Charleston; I thought for sure it was going to crush Savannah in competition. As my husband said a few days ago (I am paraphrasing here since I don't remember exact words), more southern cities should have been burnt to the ground like Atlanta, Charleston was and it should have stayed that way.

Which is the better city, Savannah or Charleston?

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      7 years ago

      Wow, this is a conversation that my wife and I have had several times. We have been going to Hilton Head in the winter for the past 5 years. We visited Charleston once and have visited Savannah 6 times. We love the city and its beauty. Agree with the Trolley Tour recommendation. The city's partnership with SCAD is amazing as well. We'll be back in 2012.


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