Watch our video slideshow of photos taken during Christmas 2011 in Savannah, Georgia. If you would like to create a video slideshow of your own photos click here.
There is never a bad time to visit Savannah, Georgia but December offers the best bang for the buck. First, unlike the hot, muggy summers, December in Savannah offers mild daytime temperatures usually in the mid 60’s to mid 70’s, perfect for exploring this most-walkable city. Second, the city is decked out in its Christmas finest. Red bows and evergreen banners? decorate most of the downtown parks, monuments and squares. The historic homes are bedecked in giant evergreen wreaths with fabously decorated Christmas trees in their picture windows. And finally, one of the best reasons to visit Savannah in December is all the Christmas events scheduled as part of the city’s Holly Days festivities.
We arrived in Savannah around 3:00pm and went straight to the Old Towne Trolley welcome center at the base of the Talmadge Bridge to take a guided, narrated tour of Savannah’s famed historic district. The company actually offered a Christmas-themed “Holly Jolly Tour” which included Christmas caroling and visits to the Davenport House and Gingerbread Village at the Westin Resort but the tour lasted two hours and didn’t start until 6:30pm and ended at 8:30pm. Since we had plans to attend a Christmas musical at the historic Savannah Theatre at 8:00pm we decided to take one of the regular trolley tours instead.
[description of tour here]
Once our tour concluded we headed to the Westin Resort across the Talmadge Bridge on Hutchinson Island in the middle of the Savannah River to have dinner and view the Gingerbread Village and Trees of Life displays. (The Westin offers complimentary Ferry Boat service from River Street and back again thus you don’t have to drive if you don’t want to. Unfortunately we only found out about this service after we had already driven to the Westin.)
We arrived around 6:00pm and was greeted with a huge Gingerbread Village upon walking through the doors of the hotel. This centerpiece gingerbread village included a train track with a Thomas the Train engine circling the village.
Two other gingerbread villages were located on either side of the central village. Each contained villages created by school
After viewing the gingerbread villages we headed up the escalator to the Aqua Star restaurant. Since we were the first people to arrive for dinner we got the best seat in the house in front of a huge arched picture window overlooking the giant Christmas tree located in front of the hotel as well as the Savannah River. Across the river was the Savannah waterfront and riverwalk lined with historic buildings along the famous River Street. Every so often massive cargo ships would pass by on the river. Needless to say, the view is likely the best in all of Savannah and makes a wonderful place for dinner. (For details of our dinner read “Dining Around: Aqua Star in Savannah, Georgia.” ) My daughter enjoyed meeting the Chef as she prepared our dessert of pecan pie a la mode.
After dinner we headed back down the escalator and walked outside onto the Westin’s own riverwalk to view their giant Christmas tree. We also noticed a firepit further along the riverwalk. (Here you can roast marshmallows and make s’mores provided by the Indulge/Starbucks desert bar in the Midnight Sun lounge.) Had we had more time this would have made a great place to sit and relax after dinner while watching the river traffic go by but it was now 7:30 and we had tickets for the 8:00pm showing of the musical “A Christmas Tradition” at the Savannah Theatre back across the river in the historic district.
We arrived back in the historic district and minutes and parked on Perry Street a block away from the Savannah Theatre. The theater is the oldest continuously operated theater in the U.S. and sits on the square where the bus stop scene from Forest Gump was filmed.
We picked up our tickets and took our seat in the balcony. The show was simply fabulous and my daughter and wife thoroughly enjoyed it.