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WHY GO IN OCTOBER October 25 to November 1 is the city's eleventh-annual Savannah Film Festival. There you can catch up with Hollywood A-listers like Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vanessa Redgrave, and X-Men director Brett Ratner, who have shown up as special guests in the past.



 

The Ballastone Inn's garden courtyard.

The Ballastone Inn's garden courtyard.

 

It's haunted. Naysayers aside, See Savannah Walking Tours' "Hauntings Tour" (www.seesavannah.com , 912-234-3571) is a best bet for believable ghost stories and spottings. (On the latter, bring your camera and take pix as you go. White orbs—supposedly ghosts—appear in most of your photos around town at night.)

Shop. Pound the pavement in the Historic District's shopping area, where you can find imported Asian goods at Clipper Trading Co. (201 W. Broughton St., 912-238-3660, www.clippertrading.com ), eclectic modern home furnishings at 24e (24 E. Broughton St., 912-233-2274, www.twentyfoure.com ), or transitional/contemporary pieces amidst a cozy café at DC2 Design (104 W. Broughton St., 912-233-2870, www.dc2design.com ).

Skip Lady & Sons. Sure, Paula Deen's a Savannah staple, but call it a tourist trap. Instead make reservations at Alligator Soul (114 Barnard St., 912-232-7899, www.alligatorsoul.com ), where you'll promptly be served a shooter of cherry bombs (maraschino cherries pickled in top-shelf vodka). Order anything seafood plus  a slice of house-made pecan pie—the best in the city; heck, dare we say the best in the South.

Book the Ballastone. Comfortable and relaxed (no invasive innkeepers here), the Ballastone Inn (14 E. Oglethorpe Ave., 912-236-1484, www.ballastone.com ) boasts a courteous and fun guest-services staff, which makes it worth the stay. But the neatly appointed rooms and sumptuous breakfasts (French toast drizzled with a sweet Grand Marnier cream sauce) are why you stay.

Take in the nightlife. The City Market area offers nightly outdoor music. Around the corner on Congress Street are a slew of nightclubs and lounges. Or go where the locals go—The Olde Pink House's (23 Abercorn St., 912-232-4286) downstairs tavern is packed on weekend nights for good reason—lively atmosphere, cozy fireplace and couches, and the ladies' room is (supposedly) one of the most haunted in the city.

 

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