This year's Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens marks the 83rd year the event has provided the community a chance to enter some of the finest private homes in Savannah. According to director Mollie White, a lot has changed since the first tour in 1935.
"The first one featured five houses in one day," she says. "Some of those homes are now house museums like the Green-Meldrim House and Andrew Low House. …The event was started by the Women's Auxiliary of Christ Church Anglican and they put it together to respond to the needs during the Depression. They raised $50 for the community."
White says it has grown to a four-day event that is more like a festival, with luncheons and seminars.
This year's Savannah Tour of Homes and Gardens is March 22-25 and features walking tours, classes and meals. These popular events sell out quickly. Proceeds go to the Historic Savannah Foundation and the Women of Christ Church Anglican, which supports local charities through grants.
"Our mission is to show hospitality to our guests while raising money for good causes," White explains. "We want to give our guests a true dosage of Southern hospitality. …That's why our welcome reception kickoff event is always free and open to the public."
The free Welcome Reception and Worship Service is from 5:30-7 p.m. March 22, beginning at the Whitefield Center, 106 E. 37th St., and ending at Christ Church Anglican, 2020 Bull St. It features "free homemade goodies and fellowship." Round-trip transportation is provided.
Other new and notable events with tickets still available are:
• 11 a.m. March 22; $30; Learn how to set a beautiful table.
• 3 p.m. March 22; $100; Anissa Manzo Goeken hands-on workshop on creating centerpieces, which will be used during the tour’s opening reception at the Whitefield Center.
• 1 p.m. March 23; $45; Lunch at 45 Bistro and a presentation on Mills B. Lane's impact on Savannah's preservation story. White says the event is great for anyone interested in preservation history.
• 9:30 a.m. March 24; $30; Indigo Innovations. Learn about indigo farming, see a live demo of indigo dyeing and receive a unique indigo gift, White says.
• Many of the walking tours that take place between noon and 3 p.m. March 24. Those tours include places like Thomas Square Streetcar Historic District, Bonaventure Cemetery, Victorian Historic District, Historic Ardsley Park-Chatham Crescent, and more.