With typical Southern charm, Savannah welcomes visitors to its historic city—to dine, take a stroll through its Squares, and yes, to seek out its spirits. Ghost tours are as plentiful as they are varied, with many of them weaving bits of the town’s past into the experience. With 22 Squares in the downtown, you might want to do a little research to pick one that catches your interest. Perhaps start with a Hearse tour to get an overview of the city in style, then proceed on to a guided cemetery exploration. An evening trolley ride through the haunted, historic downtown can also point you to areas you want to check out later. There are plenty of walking tours available–some involving pubs and taverns, others with a peek inside historic buildings. With so many adventures to choose from, the biggest challenge is finding the time to soak it all in.
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No other town embraces its historic past quite as elegantly as Savannah. Separated from South Carolina by the Savannah River and 20 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean, this lush, coastal seaport was established in 1733. It played important roles in both the American Revolution and the Civil War, and its very survival gives rise to all it offers today. Museums, churches, gardens and antebellum homes grace the cobblestone streets of Savannah’s historic district. This area is unique in its design, with 22 parklike squares comprising the old downtown. It remains largely unchanged from its eighteenth century inception, with Franklin Square, Lafayette Square and Madison Square included among the 22. With the abundance of Spanish Moss and the sweet scent of magnolia in the air, Savannah exudes a Southern charm one wants to inhale and savor.
The city has preserved many of its historic structures and today they serve as pubs, museums and hotels. Stories of murders and paranormal phenomena are found in buildings that populate the downtown. It’s claimed that America’s first serial killer roamed the streets of Austin in 1885; his crimes were horrible but his identity is still unknown. The Handlebar on East 5th St. was once a funeral parlor and the Paramount Theatre has a history of death that overshadows any laughter from a live audience. The State Capital building itself has an unavenged murder and restless spirits are said to roam its halls. With so many hauntings found among the living, Austin is a ghost hunter’s paradise.The same loving homage that’s paid to the town’s past has earned it the title of America’s most haunted city. While some may argue the “most,” no one can deny that ghosts and the paranormal abound in Savannah. It’s involvement in two major wars, and the area’s terrible, dark past with slavery, make it ripe for tales of restless spirits. Almost every hotel has a ghost story attached to its premises. Historic cemeteries, like the Bonaventure, have wrought iron gates and ancient markers that are popular with historians and ghost hunters alike. From the town’s trolleys to its riverboats, all the way through its lamplit, historic Squares of downtown–Savannah’s spirits are alive and beckoning. With an impeccable southern charm they are inviting you to visit–won’t you accept their hospitality?
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