Walking Magazine has already named Savannah, Georgia “one of the top 10 walking cities in America.”
And having just returned from the Association of Commuter Transportation annual conference, I was surprised to do a little a research and find that the charming southern city has such a low “car-dependent” Walk Score of 47 out of 100.
At least for the central part of the city, where most of the businesses and tourists congregate, a highlight of my days was taking some quick strolls around the Historic District to places like the City Market and Forsyth Park (home of the famous fountain from the cover of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil).
Even though these strolls were in the heat and humidity of July afternoons or evenings, it just seemed like this was the way Savannah is meant to be enjoyed. (Bicycling would be good too, as the excellent bike n’ fashion blog Thin Lizzie Rides Again points out.)
Tourism workers in Savannah and concierges at the hotels have clearly had great success at marketing sight-seeing trolley buses as the way to go, but seeing the hot, miserable, bored customers riding in trolley after trolley after trolley by the places that were easily walkable made it seem like this isn’t what they should be promoting so heavily, especially at the expense of biking and walking tours.
Nearly all the brochures in the hotels and the main talking points of the concierges point tourists to trolley and horse-driven-carriage tours. I did a trolley tour years ago when I visited Savannah. There was nothing wrong with it. But when I walked around to all the same places this time, I was surprised by how much more ground I covered on foot and how much more I enjoyed the sights, sounds, and pleasant smells. I could really feel the pulse and the history of the city.
Photos by Paul Mackie. Cover photo of Savannah pedicab by James Green