- Candace Dantes, For the AJC
Backdrop of the famous bench scene in “Forrest Gump”, home of legendary southern writer Flannery O'Connor and birthplace of rapper Big Boi of Grammy Award-winning Hip Hop duo OutKast, Savannah has certainly made a name for itself, both as a pop culture icon and tourist destination.
And most recently TripAdvisor - dubbed the world's largest travel site - added Georgia's oldest and third largest city to its most recent list of "America's 15 most romantic cities for winter travel." The city, known for its seafood and ghost tours, was listed No. 8 on the travel site’s list. "With 22 historic park-like squares, there are so many places in Savannah's National Landmark Historic District to enjoy the architecture," said Summer Bozeman, communications coordinator for Visit Savannah, "and Savannah's beaches are gloriously isolated. They're super romantic and very private."
Savannah joined charming destinations such as Santa Barbara, California; Estes Park, Colorado; and Sante Fe, New Mexico, on the list of the best couple-friendly winter getaways of this year.
Here are just five of city's sights that will have you agreeing with TripAdvisor about Savannah's inclusion as a place where romance flourishes:
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These cobblestone streets - more than 200 years old - meandering along the Savannah River outline, are known as River Street. The area is home to roughly 75 galleries, restaurants, pubs, souvenir shops and nightclubs, many of them in refurbished cotton warehouses. It's the perfect location to dine and take an evening stroll while listening to live street music. Explore the waterfront site long enough to catch sight of the riverboat cruises and massive cargo ships traveling into Savannah's port.
Central to Savannah's Historic District, Forsyth Park is a 30-acre public garden canopied by Spanish moss. This picturesque park features shaded spaces for picnics, a main walkway that ushers visitors to its famous white water fountain and various cultural events throughout the year for fun dates.
Savannah preserves rich, architectural treasures in its Historic District. See the city's Medieval-, Greek Revival-, Victorian- and Colonial-style homes and cathedrals while taking a romantic, private tour by way of a horse-drawn carriage. Elegant Percheron horses guarantee relaxing rides through this timeless section of Savannah. "Each of our historic squares has something lovely in the center - be it a fountain, monument or gazebo - and beautiful landmarks surrounding it," said Bozeman. "Picturesque Columbia Square is a favorite for spring and fall weddings. It's also home to the historic Kehoe House inn and the Davenport House Museum."
Witness majestic sunrises and watch tranquil waves ripple onto the barrier island's sandy beaches. Located roughly 20 minutes outside of Savannah, this quaint town features seaside eateries, antique shops and art galleries worth couple exploration. "Tybee has a different vibe than downtown," Bozeman said. "It's laid back. Its streets are lined with candy-colored bungalows. The Tybee Island Wedding Chapel is also a draw for couples, which originally was a set from the Miley Cyrus/Liam Hemsworth movie 'The Last Song.'" The authentic beach community also provides unforgettable views from its signature pier and pavilion.
Elizabeth on 37th & Cha Bella
Named one of the "Top 10 Dreamy Dining Destinations in America" by Yahoo Travel, the 1900s mansion-turned-restaurant serves Southern-influenced cuisine using fresh, local produce. Enchanting Old World décor surrounds guests during this popular fine dining experience. "Cha Bella is another gem on the Eastern edge of the Historic District that helped pioneer the hyper-local, farm-to-table movement in Savannah," said Bozeman. "Its mouthwatering menu features specialties like watermelon cocktails and wild Georgia shrimp with Carolina-grown risotto. Even better: The semi-covered patio with billowy drapes and rope-swing chairs makes a storybook setting for a rehearsal dinner or reception on a balmy Savannah night."