There are plenty of ways and plenty of tours to be found in Savannah and Charleston. You can see each by mule- or horse-drawn carriages, walking, trolleys, motor coaches, or private vehicles, and you can even take a haunted tour in Savannah in a hearse! You will find tours with themes ranging from historical to gardens and homes to the Civil War to pirates to African-American history and to movies. In all cases, you have the opportunity to get on and off at your leisure, stopping at the most popular stops. Heck, tours are such big business here, they even offer festivals to celebrate them. In both the fall and spring, both cities have weekends in which you can tour some of the most beautiful gardens and homes in these splendid Southern ladies.
When in any city, one of the best ways to acclimate yourself is with a tour, especially a tour of the most local spots. Both cities are very similar in their geography and history. Both cities are perfect for walking. The weather here is perfect year-round, both offer relatively flats surfaces easy for walking, and most concentrate their most popular stops in a relatively small area, making both grand dames perfect for touring by foot. Just look up each city’s website, where you can find dozens of tour companies willing to offer you an assortment of walking tours.
Both Charleston and Savannah are amongst the most haunted cities in the country. Now it depends on who is making the list as to who has the most haunted city in America. Cities such as New Orleans, Salem, DC, Los Angeles, and even a tiny town called Atchison, Kansas, all compete with Charleston and Savannah for the title of most haunted. But no matter what, both cities are considered very haunted on any list. Just about every tour company has a ghost tour on their roster. In October you can often find package tours offering a stay at a haunted inn and a tour.
What makes these places so haunted? Well, the reasons are pretty much the same for both cities. Both played prominently in the Civil War, meaning plenty of blood has been shed here and lives taken. Both cities have rowdy pasts as port cities; both have survived fires, earthquakes, disease, and untimely deaths. Both cities saw no reason to be modern. They have a huge concentration of beautiful antebellum homes; why destroy these when you can renovate them and give them a second chance at life? Many times, when people renovate their homes, they find it awakens sprits that have stayed behind and have no plans of leaving. And all the sprits here are not necessarily the evil kind. Many people find themselves existing very peacefully with the former owners, who stay around just to make sure everything is kept perfect.
It was on my ghost tour in Charleston that I had a particularly odd event occur. We started down an alleyway, and as soon as we did, I got a sharp pain in my back, like I was being stabbed. Not thinking much about it, I had my hubby to rub my back. I figured I had just pulled something. It turns out this alleyway was a place where men often came to dual. In one case, when the gentlemen turned from each other to count their paces, one attacked the other, killing him by stabbing him in the back. The pain stopped as soon as we left! They will also show you a very unique photo taken by a couple visiting the Charleston cemeteries. They just took a random photo of a headstone and knew they were the only ones in the cemetery. When they got the picture back, there was a picture of a ghostly women over the headstone! It turns out to be the headstone of a child! I had seen this photo several times on TV, and the photo has been examined - there is no explanation of why the woman appeared in the photo.
When visiting these gems, make sure to take the time to stay for a few days and enjoy a tour or two. Most tours range between $10 and $20, and you get plenty of bang for your buck. The tour companies use only the best for their guides. These guys and gals know their stuff, and you often get to hear some great gossip. These tours will tell you which stars visiting these lovely cities are very nice (Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington always seem to be spoken very well of) and which stars are a pain in the butt (there is this one actress…well, I will let you take the tour and find out for yourself). If you are coming over the summer or during some of the more busy times, I would highly advise you to purchase your tickets in advance or make reservations when possible. Make sure to check out each city’s website and request your copy of the visitor guides. You will often find tour coupons in the visitor guides. Just one tour of one of these magnificent cities and you will want to come back for more. Just like the ghosts!
See www.charlestoncvb.com and www.savannah-visit.com.