Many residents of the 2.5-square-mile Historic Landmark District can claim the city's verdant squares as their front yards. Although the north end of the District is commercial in character, numerous blocks of the area are solidly residential. Historic homes in need of restoration are still available. Newcomers will also find a good selection of restored homes, the result of 50 years of preservation efforts, and new construction in the form of townhouse condominiums crafted to blend into the historic atmosphere of the District. A recent trend in downtown housing involves the conversion of space above retail establishments into apartments and lofts, a situation that's developed along with the city's revitalization of commercial buildings.
Adjacent to the Historic District, this first southward expansion of the city is attracting more and more folks interested in restoring two- and three-story frame houses in need of repair. The area becomes more popular in this regard as the number of restorable houses in the Historic District shrinks.
Savannah's first suburb, laid out in 1911, is a mixture of prestigious four- and five-bedroom mansions and quaint, craftsman-style bungalows situated on tree-lined streets. The Ardsley Park area — located in Midtown and loosely bounded by Victory Drive on the north, Waters Avenue on the east, 55th Street on the south and Bull Street on the west — has been one of the city's “hottest” neighborhoods, favored by young professionals and families.
This secluded neighborhood in eastside Savannah is similar to Ardsley Park in character, but it's considerably smaller and hasn't been “discovered” to the extent that its “big brother” to the southwest has.
Located just east of Savannah's city limits, Thunderbolt is a historic maritime town and the site of docks used by shrimp fishermen. Originally incorporated as Warsaw in 1856, Thunderbolt owes its current name to the legend of a lightning strike that created a freshwater spring along the Wilmington River bluff.
A number of luxury condominium developments with breathtaking views have sprung up along the riverfront.
Shopping and recreation abound on the Southside, a large area that's the site of both of Savannah's malls, a multitude of smaller shopping centers and Bacon Park, whose 500 acres offer residents a variety of activities ranging from soccer to golf and from swimming to weight training. The Southside is also residential in character, with neighborhoods featuring everything from ranch-style homes to patio homes and an abundance of apartment complexes and condominiums. Two significant neighborhoods are:
Developed starting in the 1960s, Windsor Forest offers home a wide spectrum of choices in terms of styles and prices.
An area of mostly upscale homes, Georgetown was one of the fastest-growing parts of the city in the 1990s.
Home buyers in search of a less-historic but easy-going setting might consider the islands east and southeast of downtown Savannah. One of these, Tybee, is a barrier island fronting on the Atlantic Ocean. The others are separated from the mainland by rivers or tidal creeks, but all of the islands exude the “getting-away-from-it-all” feeling that comes when you cross a stretch of tranquil marshland on your way home from work or school.
Directly east of Savannah is where you'll find Tybee and four inshore islands of varying size — Oatland, Talahi, Whitemarsh and Wilmington.
The largest of the several inshore islands east of Savannah, this area is mainly residential in nature and is dotted with heavily forested neighborhoods, parks and recreational facilities.
Located 18 miles from Savannah, this small seaside island is graced by a wide, 3-mile long beach that draws sun lovers and water-sports enthusiasts from throughout Georgia and the rest of the Southeast.
While Tybee is a resort replete with a full complement of restaurants, modern hotels and motels, luxurious condominiums and quaint rental cottages, it's also a residential area whose offerings range from historic homes on the Officers' Row of a one-time military post to classic beach-style abodes — many of which are beautifully restored.
Tybee, home to about 4,000 year-round residents, is an independent municipality providing its own city services. Among focal points are the south-end pier and pavilion — which is much-enjoyed by fishermen and folks strolling above the ocean and listening to live-band music; and the Fort Screven area on the island's north end, which is the site of the Tybee Lighthouse and an intriguing museum.
THE RESIDENCE'S ON TURNER'S CREEK
The Residences on Turner's Creek is a private, gated, waterfront community with just 12 homes upon completion! Classic neo-traditional style exteriors with porches like yesteryear. Waterfront Dock and Community pool. Just east of historic downtown Savannah and 8 miles to Tybee Island.
This community of spacious homes and manicured yards is about 20 minutes from downtown Savannah.
ISLE OF HOPE
One of Savannah's most picturesque neighborhoods, Isle of Hope exudes the look of the Old South. Beautiful old cottages adorned with white picket fences line narrow streets and overlook the Herb and Skidaway rivers. Bluff Drive, which rambles along the Skidaway under moss-strewn oaks, is one of the area's most alluring streets.
The residential jewel of Skidaway is The Landings, a large gated community that's the site of upscale homes featuring a variety of styles — Southern Lowcountry, Colonial, Federal and traditional ranch — set on beautifully landscaped grounds. The Landings is a retirees' paradise, with its two deepwater marinas, six private 18-hole golf courses, 36 tennis courts, fitness center and four clubhouses.
WEST CHATHAM COUNTY
Much of the Savannah area's industry is concentrated in west Chatham, and it's also the site of four municipalities and Southbridge and Savannah Quarters — two fast-growing golf communities. The towns of the area — Bloomingdale, Garden City, Pooler and Port Wentworth — are well-established residential areas that serve as home to much of the work force of the industries located there. These municipalities are known for their independence and volunteer spirit, and for a general absence of property taxes. West Chatham is experiencing a boom in residential growth, with home building focused on Pooler, the Godley Station area and the Berwick area and a dozen large, master-planned communities taking place.
The homes at this planned community just off Interstate Highway 16 feature beautiful landscaping and architecture that's traditionally Southern. The development covers 1,100 acres and offers residents the pleasures of a country club lifestyle with golf club and a tennis and swim club.
WESTBROOK AT SAVANNAH QUARTERS
Nestled within Savannah Quarters' 2,600 acres, Westbrook is a gated neighborhood with a variety of homesites, club homes, custom homes and villas surrounded by lagoons, woods and nature preserves. The heart of Westbrook is the new 18-hole Greg Norman Signature Golf Course.
This county south and southwest of Savannah offers a unique blend of piney woods and marshland. The fastest-developing part of Bryan is near the coast. It's Richmond Hill, a bustling bedroom community that was once the winter quarters of famed industrialist Henry Ford.
Twenty miles south of Savannah lies Richmond Hill. It is one of two incorporated cities in Bryan County and has been one of the fastest-growing communities in the nation. Richmond Hill offers a number of housing developments, schools and opportunities for recreation and shopping. Its proximity to interstate highways 95 and 16 makes it a popular choice for commuters.
Fast-developing Effingham offers home buyers a choice of residential areas with different characters — on-the-go Rincon, quaint Guyton, and Springfield, the county seat.
Rincon, beginning to resemble a bedroom community of the magnitude of Richmond Hill, is mushrooming as the Savannah area gradually spreads west. However, all three municipalities retain their country-style atmosphere.