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Savannah and Charleston

Special to the Los Angeles Times

Savannah.

Charleston.

Don’t ever get the idea that visiting one is the same experience as visiting the other. Just to put one name before the other sets you in the midst of a centuries-old rivalry. Charleston is undeniably the elder, founded in 1670, though it would relocate before the turn of that century. Savannah didn’t come along until 1733. Yet both cities proudly claim themselves as the first in America to lay its streets in the modern grid pattern, as opposed to the winding lanes common in European towns.

Sure, both started as outposts in what would become the original 13 colonies. Both were firebrands of rebellion, first against the British during the Revolutionary War, then against the Union during the War Between the States.

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Both are Atlantic ports that have outlived pirates, slave trading, epidemics, earthquakes, fires and hurricanes to welcome vacationers today with charming historic districts, fine restaurants, boutique shopping and an almost endless choice of ghost tours.

Charleston.

Savannah.

Each has the warmest hospitality, the laziest carriage rides, the refreshing-est sweet tea, the award-winning-est historic inns, the haute-est Lowcountry cuisine. Each is the most haunted. But that doesn’t mean they’re alike, not by a long shot. There’s more separating Savannah, Ga., and Charleston, S.C., than a state line and the hundred or so miles between them.

Here’s to the differences that make each city the only star in its heaven.

For a comparison, click the links at the left.


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