Savannah's Holiday Tour of Homes and Inns is always a highlight of the season.
On Dec. 9, guests will be allowed to go inside some of Savannah's most beautiful private residences, decorated historic inns and culturally significant house museums.
"Savannah's irrepressible Southern hospitality and tasteful holiday atmosphere is a perfect backdrop for the Holiday Tour of Homes and Inns," says Nina Altschiller, chair of the event. "The tour will appeal to those interested in architecture, home dÃ©cor, the history and culture of the South, and those individuals who just want to revel in Savannah's Southern generosity."
On Dec. 9, visitors will have several options. Tour of Homes I takes place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Tour of Homes II is from 1-5 p.m.
Each tour includes eight private homes, three house museums in Savannah's Landmark Historic District and the Massie Heritage Center.
Another option is to add an inn tour to your package of choice. Five lavishly decorated inns will be toured, but inns may only be visited from 12:30-3:30 p.m.
The final option is the Full Day Tour, which includes everything that is available on the other tours. It offers the most flexibility to explore the spaces.
The tours are sponsored by the Savannah Downtown Neighborhood Association. Find information about the tour, including parking suggestions, at savannahdna.org.
Two house museums will be featured in the tour:the Andrew Low House, an Italianate mansion where Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of America, and the Harper Fowlkes House, a Greek Revival mansion, furnished with antiques while retaining the feel of a real home.
Participants also will be able to visit the Massie Heritage Center, the oldest school in continuous operation in Georgia. It houses exhibits on Savannah architecture, culture and education.
Historic inns also are part of the event, offering visitors a close look at the Ballastone Inn, Eliza Thompson House, The Gastonian, Savannah Bed and Breakfast and the Kehoe House. The inns will be decorated for the holidays.
Those taking the tour should note:
â€¢ The tour is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. Most historic homes have steps to climb.
â€¢ No photography or videography is allowed, as the tour includes private homes.
â€¢ High-heeled shoes are not allowed because they can damage the historic wood floors.
â€¢ The number of tickets sold is limited. (The tours often sell out in advance, so get tickets early.)
â€¢ Attendees need to stop by tour headquarters at Bryson Hall to pick up the guidebook, which includes a map.
â€¢ While well-supervised children are welcome, they must pay the full ticket price. Children can be carried, but strollers are not allowed inside the homes.
The DNA's mission is to enhance the quality of residential life in the National Historic Landmark District, protect Savannah's unique downtown environment and advocate public policies that support these objectives. With this in mind, funds generated by the Holiday Tour of Homes are donated back to the community in the form of grants.
Each year, the DNA bestows grants to community organizations that have an impact on the greater downtown area, particularly those that help or enrich the residential quality of life, including arts and culture, youth development, beautification and improvements and humanitarian causes.
Each recipient goes through an application process and appears before the DNA board of directors for selection.
This year grants will go to: Deep Center, Frank Cullen Boys & Girls Clubs, Helping Hands, Horizons, Loop it Up Savannah, Savannah Children's Choir, SCMPD Explorer Post, Urban Hope, CNU Savannah, Savannah Tree Foundation, Emmaus House, Savannah Bicycle Campaign and Union Mission.
IF YOU GO
What: Savannah's Holiday Tour of Homes and Inns
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 9
Where: Landmark Historic District
Cost: $50, $75, $100