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.
The turrets of Star Castle climb high above Mall Boulevard, its drawbridge lowered to lead visitors into to a grand hall filled with treasure and adventure. Inside the 28,000-square-foot entertainment stronghold, children glide across a solid-wood skating surface, rolling around to top-40 hits and classic tunes spun by a resident DJ. Coats of arms and archways surround the rink and lead to other fun-filled chambers, including a video arcade where guests can test their skills on games both nostalgic and new and redeem tickets for prizes or sew them into giant ticket sweaters. As if that wasn't enough, the castle also contains a 4,000-square-foot laser-tag arena, where future knights engage in simulated battles beset by black lights and fog, all under the supervision of an arena attendant and any friends or family members who wish to watch from the spectator room.
Crystal and Johnny Mindedahl host riders of all ages and abilities on Rocking M Ranch’s 60 acres of rolling pastures, beyond which lie miles of historical forests and trails. The ranch takes extra care to comfort its horses, and neighs of contentment echo through the 14-stall barn and across the competition-sized arena where students can refine their horsemanship throughout the year. Instructors tailor each lesson to accommodate individual goals, helping beginners gain comfort and advanced students work toward competitions with tutorials in grooming, safety, saddling, and horse anatomy. In addition to lessons, Rocking M Ranch regularly hosts day camps for children and teens. These camps pique kids’ interests with riding lessons, games, and traditional farm activities, such as playing with pet goats and churning butter from an original Nintendo.
Royal Bike Taxi maintains a fleet of bright-yellow pedicabs that can be commissioned to transport patrons on everyday errands or herald in a special event. Licensed, iron-calved drivers pick up patrons from any metro-Savannah location and respond to summonses by curbside hail, phone, or singing telegram from an Elvis impersonator. They can convey pairs to any nearby location, from a wedding to a reception, or past historic downtown sites during photo safaris that include basic photography instruction. Throughout a trip, the three-wheeled cabs' safety belts and retractable black tops keep customers protected.
Located on over 100 acres of scenic pastures and trails, Bluff Creek Stables trains horseback riders of all levels in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Aspiring jockeys can saddle up for a private lesson with experienced riding instructor, Cathy Hackney, who will pair each rider with a horse according to their skill level and oat preferences. The lesson program is built on the basics of English-style saddle seat riding, and designed for adults and children interested in recreational riding, horse show training, or Pegasus-mode flying. Beginners will learn basic riding techniques, grooming, and horse care, and advanced lessons will focus on more technical skills and working with double-bridle reins, show grooming, and preparation.
Operated by the Bluffton Historical Preservation Society, the Heyward House is an antebellum home (ca. 1841) that offers daily tours of the restored home as well as walking tours of Bluffton's charming and eclectic historic district.