New tour company takes unique approach
Botanica Tours began offering walking tours of downtown Savannah last month, in time for the azalea explosion. Botanic owner-operator Dee Hope knows his stuff: he has been guiding tours in southern botanical gardens for more than 12 years. Botanica tours begin in and wend their way through Forsyth Park. Then comes the Victorian District with its eclectic mix of architectural gems set amid well-tended gardens. The last half of the tour explores four of the loveliest squares, featuring historic and popular sites, as well as the lesser-noticed botanical wonders along shady, forested Jones Street and its environs.
Hope's is a slow-paced journey. Along the way he points out and interprets the botanical motifs in ironwork and architectural details. He tells stories about the crucial role of cotton, mulberry and other plants important to the city's history. He offers a checklist of the more than 100 species of plants growing in the Historic District so you can see and learn about them. His tours are not exclusively for trained botanists; they are educational for the whole family, educational without being overly technical.
Photo opportunities abound; textures and fragrances are literally at hand - all difficult or impossible on a windshield or vehicle tour. Tours - Hope calls them journeys - last 90 minutes to two hours. They run daily, except Monday, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The cost is $13 for adults, $6 for children 13 and younger.
To reserve a space, call (888) 806-8519. Major credit cards are accepted. Hope also offers private group tours to outlying areas, including wildlife refuges, beaches, even Low Country swamps. For those, call (912) 303-0452.