Historian, curator, and classic-car buff Tanya Bailey-Smith opened the Great Savannah Races Museum as an homage to the cultural significance of the Great Savannah Races of 1908, 1910, and 1911. Her facility doubles as a micromuseum and gift shop with media and fine-art items on display and a collection from the Automobile Club of America, whose members chose Savannah to host the first American Grand Prix.
In 1820, an upwardly mobile carpenter named Isaiah Davenport designed a 6,800-square-foot Federal-style home to live in with his wife, children, and slaves. After his death, Davenport’s wife turned the stately brick house into a boarding house, though it later devolved into a run-down tenement—until the Historic Savannah Foundation saved the landmark when it was threatened with demolition in 1955. The organization’s award-winning preservation, their very first effort, jumpstarted an organized preservation movement that spread across the entire port city.
Today, the Davenport House Museum’s rooms are filled with antique furniture from the 1820s, acquired after careful research relying on estate inventories and detailed artist renderings of long-ago games of musical chairs. These period-accurate tables and chairs join ceramics, textiles, and books to form the museum’s collection of about 500 historical items. Behind the home, where a carriage house, garden, and privy once stood, a garden designed by renowned landscape artist Penelope Hobhouse flourishes. After walking among its flowers, visitors can drop by the museum shop to pick up jams and jellies, books about Savannah, and reproductions of early 19th-century items.
Forsyth Park's year-round greenery stretches through the southern half of the Savannah Historic District, a National Historic Landmark District with cobblestone streets, 18th- and 19th-century mansions, and monument-laden city squares. The nearby Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum chronicles the legacy of local civil-rights activism with exhibits such as a recreated lunch counter to honor the movement's historic sit-ins.In the winter, moderate temperatures keep vegetation verdant and accumulated snow a rare occurrence. About a half hour drive east, Tybee Island holds some of the best vistas of the southern landscape. Visitors can explore the Fort Pulaski National Monument's antebellum brick fort, still pocked by Civil War–era cannon blasts and overlooking rolling hills, sparkling inlets, and the remains of 19th-century laser guns.
Savannah's Clay Spot familiarizes fledgling sculptors with ceramic art during two-hour introductory classes. Donatello-inspired duos can journey to the center's fully equipped studio, where they are encouraged to craft strategically shaped bisques upon a potter's wheel or hand-sculpt a personal collection of Bob Dole statuettes. After students have finished their muddy masterpieces, the studio's kiln gurus will fire and glaze pieces to ensure durability. Students can then take completed works home. Though the center provides students with tools and equipment, students must purchase clay from the studio's specialized stock.
Built in 1842, The Harper Fowlkes House incorporates many of the popular styles of the era, such as an exterior of Savannah gray brick stuccoed and scored to resemble stone blocks. Visitors can still see the craftsmen?s handiwork during educational tours of the three-story Greek Revival mansion, held four days a week. A curving stone staircase leads to the mansion?s front doorway, surrounded by a two-story porch whose roof rests on elegant columns. Inside, antique artwork abounds, such as a portrait of Colonel Habersham, who played a key role in the Revolutionary War by originating the backward tri-cornered hat. Other period antiques decorate the house, and an enclosed garden adds an outdoor element. Further antique details permeate the house, from ceilings bordered by original plaster crown moldings to six chandeliers that were originally gas-burning but have been retrofitted to host light bulbs.
The Savannah Beerathon mimics a marathon with a tongue-in-cheek lineup of 26 bar hops, each location pouring a different featured craft brew. The Savannah Morning News profiled the event, which taps into the city's burgeoning craft-beer culture for an eclectic tasting tour.
Each venue boasts beer specials—though the brews themselves are not included with admission as per Georgia law. The suds range from Left Hand milk stout and Blue Point toasted lager to Sam Adams' Octoberfest. Participants meet new friends and new beers throughout the day, raising a glass to good taste and soaking up the sounds of live bands and DJs. The organizers encourage the wearing of team outfits and welcome designated drivers and sober pack-horses to join their friends at the venues.