This post concludes our three-part series of historic Savannah attractions – although we’re tempted to revisit this idea, very soon, since there is still so much more to share about our beautiful city!
Yesteryear of Cotton: the Savannah Cotton Exchange
If you’re in town on the first Saturday of the month – any month – then be sure to tour the Savannah Cotton Exchange. Located at 100 East Bay Street, right by Cool Savannah, this building takes you back to days when cotton was king. The original structure was built in 1872, when Georgia was the leading cotton producer in the United States ($40 million annual revenues!). In the 1880s, this area was known as the Wall Street of the South because of this incredible commerce in cotton.
The current Savannah Cotton Exchange building was designed by William G. Preston and built in 1886. The outside is red brick, designed in the Romantic Revival style, with a terra cotta façade. The elaborate iron fence contains medallions featuring statesmen and authors, and contains within it a landscaped fountain and statue of a gryphon. The Cotton Exchange was opened for tours only a few short years ago – after nearly 40 years without such public access.
The Solomon Lodge operates inside of this building.
Natural Cathedral of Bonaventure Cemetery
Located three miles from the heart of historic Savannah along the Wilmington River, this is one of the world’s most beautiful cemeteries. Live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and the blooming of azaleas and camellias, plus the wildlife, make it a place of natural splendor, its winding paths reminiscent of a Victorian garden.
This land is also rich in history, an overview of which can be seen here:
As a brief historical overview, this land was once part of an enormous plantation, owned by families that were loyal to the British crown. When the Revolutionary War began going the way of the colonies, loyalists – including the owners of land that is now Bonaventure Cemetery – found themselves stripped of their property.
In more modern times, this cemetery became especially well known after the bestselling book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, was published in 1994 – with the Bird Girl statue in the cemetery featured on the cover. In 1997, Clint Eastwood directed the film adaption, which starred Kevin Spacey and John Cusack. In 2014, the Bird Girl statue was moved to the Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center for the Arts on West York Street.
There is far more to say about Bonaventure Cemetery than we can include here. So, please watch for an upcoming blog post about the cemeteries of historic Savannah – and consider purchasing this helpful map and guide of the cemetery.
Historic Savannah’s Unique History of Drinks and Revelry
Tours of the Ghost Coast Distillery are currently available five days a week where you can discover how people have enjoyed drink and revelry in Savannah (find days and times of tours). These tours can be free (with no spirits tasting) or $12.50 for a tour with a tasting. Or, you can do a tour/tasting/souvenir bottle package for $32.00 per person. Tours are available for people aged 21 and up (ID required) and children accompanied by a parent or legal guardian; children do not need to pay when accompanied by a paying adult.
You can go back in time, hearing about when liquor and lawyers alike were banned from historic Savannah. General James Oglethorpe banned alcohol in 1734 and this was in effect for 21 years. When that prohibition was lifted, spirits began flowing in the parks and streets, and hasn’t stopped since. Now, in 2017, the city has its first legal distillery in nearly a century.
Ghost Coast Distillery offers a smooth triple-distilled Vodka 261, made of corn and wheat. Another option is the orange-flavored version. Why orange? Well, nearly 300 years ago, city leaders decided to grow mildly sweet, delicately tart oranges and the enticing scent filled the air. Just take a look at these cocktails!
The distillery is located at 641 Indian Street.
More of Historic Savannah’s Unique History: Vic’s on the River
Enjoy a delicious lunch or dinner in an historic building. Built in 1858 by a famous New York architect, John Norris, this building originally belonged to John Stoddard and served as a warehouse; lower floors were called John Stoddard’s Lower Range, the upper as John Stoddard’s Upper Range. Later, it housed the Steven Shipping Company.
During the Civil War, some of General William Tecumseh Sherman’s lesser-ranked officers resided in this building and made plans here. The main dining rooms features a relic from this era: a map hand-drawn by Northern soldiers that shows the march from Tennessee to – and then through – Georgia. As the building was being renovated in 1901, workers were removing the old finish from the walls and noticed lines that had been drawn, long ago. It was this map. A small portion of this map could be saved, while the rest needed covered.
Browse this menu of contemporary Southern cuisine and check out the wine list, and also check out Zagat reviews of the restaurant. Dishes of note include (but are not limited to!) shrimp & grits, award winning crawfish beignets and fried green tomatoes. When you go there to eat (26 East Bay Street), tell them that Cool Savannah Tours & Gifts sent you!
Flexibility Squared: Hop on / Hop off Trolley Tour
At Cool Savannah, we partner with the very best so we can provide a top-shelf experience to all of our guests. If you’d like a trolley tour of Savannah (and we highly recommend it!), know that we partner with Old Town Trolley Tours. This company is superb, the only tour company endorsed by the Savannah Historic Foundation, which has a mission to “preserve and protect Savannah’s heritage through advocacy, education, and community involvement.
In fact, four different historic Savannah trolley tours are available:
If you have questions about our trolley tours of Savannah, contact us online, or call (912) 231-3571 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today. You can find more things to do in Savannah here and here. Oh, and one more thing! Check out the benefits and value of our combo sightseeing tours of Savannah!