Hotel at a Glance: Thunderbird Inn
The Thunderbird Inn feels like a classic motel gone rogue. The inn’s L-shaped frame is punctuated with vibrant pops of color and its neon roadside sign almost always displays a zany message. Guest rooms match retro layouts with hip furnishings and artwork. Nostalgic touches that include old typewriters and complimentary MoonPies on every pillow are the icing on the cake. This edgy-meets-vintage vibe earned the inn a spot on USA Today’s list of the 10 Best Retro Hotels in the USA.
- Still cool after 50 years: The inn recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.
- Retro snacks include freshly made popcorn, lemonade, and Krispy Kreme donuts.
- Dog lovers: Pups staying at the Thunderbird are presented with beds, bowls, food and treats, organic dog shampoo, and red tags that read “Thunderbird Inn Loves Me.” There’s even an enclosed dog run right on the property.
- Go dancing at nearby Ampersand. The three-story craft-cocktail bar features a bar on the first floor, live music and dancing on the second, and a dining room on the third.
Savannah, Georgia: Historical Mansions and a Lively River Walk
Founded in 1733 as Georgia’s first town, Savannah is not only one of the most graceful cities in the South but also one the most historic. The old but well-preserved architecture landed it on Forbes’s 2011 list of America’s Best Downtowns, and Travel + Leisure dubbed it one of the top cities in the United States and Canada in 2013. The city’s 22 famous public squares play host to some famous landmarks, such as antebellum-era houses framed by moss-covered oak trees. Head to Oglethorpe Square to see the Owens-Thomas House, an English Regency–style mansion completed in 1819 that now serves as a museum; tours here depart from the original carriage house and go past its charming English-style parterre garden.
Another relic of Savannah’s past, River Street curves for about a mile along Savannah River’s south bank. The cobblestone walkways are lined with 100-year-old cotton warehouses that have been converted into antique shops, brewpubs, and galleries. Explore the riverfront in style aboard one of the Old Town sightseeing trolleys or during a horse-drawn carriage tour. Though the street is tamer than it was a few decades ago—when it was overrun with muscle cars and rowdy sailors—there’s still plenty of energy here, with a lively pub scene and views of large ships lumbering toward the dock.
A short walk west of River Street will take you to the City Market, a four-block public meeting space on the edge of downtown. This section of Savannah’s sprawling historic district has established itself as one of the city’s top destinations for entertainment and dining thanks to the many artists’ studios, open-air restaurants, and taverns found here.