Christmas in Savannah, Holiday Tradition the Savannah Way

Picture this: a horse-drawn carriage stops in front of twin four-story antebellum homes on President Street, on a crisp December evening in downtown Savannah.

Lights from a fresh-cut Christmas tree welcome the carriage travelers into the parlor of the side-by-side homes, as the scents and spice of hot cider and fresh ginger snaps chase away the outdoor chill.

Evergreens wrap a gleaming banister winding up the staircase, promising late night arrivals “visions of sugar plums” snuggled into sumptuous comforters and thick cotton bed linens, four-poster beds, light flickering in the fireplace.

PRESIDENTS' QUARTERS INNNext morning, the aroma of coffee greets early risers as the sun pours through tall windows, luring guests out of bed with promises of a brisk-but-comfortable southern winter day.

Across the morning quiet, the bells of downtown churches can be heard in the distance, chiming each hour. In the downstairs parlor, shrimp and grits sates morning appetites, fortified for a morning ahead, perusing shops brimming with gifts to be had.

Quiet descends as guests leave the twin homes in twos and threes, walking past Savannah’s finest rowhouses, across Oglethorpe Square beneath oak boughs, toward the bustle of nearby Broughton Street.

The city’s main shopping street, just two blocks north, is fully decked out for the season in greenery and twinkling lights. Other guests turn south on Abercorn for a quick stroll toward Savannah’s two oldest bookstores, with rooms crammed full of new and “gently used” books for every age and reading taste. Hours later, lunch for two at a favorite restaurant overlooks the Savannah River as ships from foreign lands slide past.

By late afternoon, the President Street mansions hum again with returning guests, arms laden with ribboned parcels. There’s just enough time for a quick freshening up before gathering with friends in the parlor for mulled wine and smoky cheeses, and as night falls, a furtive pause under the mistletoe with someone special.

Welcome to the holiday season in Savannah–traditional, inviting, with time honored Christmas touches that never lose their appeal.

Savannah’s reputation for cutting edge, stylish living is well deserved, but when it comes to Christmas season, this centuries-old coastal Georgia city stands firm in honoring the classic traditions of the season—the touches that bring a sense of history and a spirit of joy to the holiday.

Ask a Savannahian about the whys and wherefores of the city’s Christmas traditions and she’ll likely reply, “That’s just how we do it!” with a smile and a shrug. For out-of-towners longing for that local flavor, Presidents’ Quarters Inn in Savannah’s historic district throws open her doors to welcome them to the traditions of Christmas. First time visitors and returning guests feel as if they’ve come home for the holidays.

The sixteen-room bed and breakfast inn on East President Street is housed in attached 19th century mansions that have been restored to reveal the craftsmanship of their original era. The Presidents’ Quarters Inn honors its home’s over 150-year history with Christmas decorations reminiscent of the Victorian era when leading Savannah families occupied the two homes.

Important 21st century amenities like a full sized elevator, luxuriously appointed private baths, and accessibility features for people with special needs, easily and tastefully blend with the antique and period replica décor to enhance the inn’s welcoming aura.

At Christmastime, Presidents’ Quarters “spices up” its year-round amenities with holiday flair. The pillowtop treat provided with nighttime turndown service might just be a sugary cookie from Santa himself. The prepared-to-order breakfast might offer fresh eggnog to accompany fruit-topped Belgian waffles. Afternoon hors d’oeuvres and wine might feature hot brandy or fresh cocoa with a little something extra to keep the tummy warmed. On Christmas morning (and Thanksgiving too) guests enjoy an expanded holiday brunch that’s rich with delicious surprises.

Favorite recipes from America’s First Ladies are regularly featured on Presidents’ Quarters’ menu, in keeping with the inn’s intent to honor our nation’s presidents and their families.

Boutiques, theaters, and restaurants are steps away on Savannah’s oldest retail street. Once the shopping is finished, museums showcase contemporary art, fine architecture and exhibits on our national history. Or let our innkeeper arrange a carriage or walking tour through the historic district, passing private homes and downtown squares decorated for the season.

Locally owned Presidents’ Quarters Inn shines with the warmth of Savannah’s traditions and hospitality. This Christmas, unwrap the gifts that Presidents’ Quarters offers–experience the holiday spirit you’ll find inside and out..

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