Lifestyle History and heritage: Visit the South for Black History Month Learn the history of the Gullah, the descendants of enslaved Africans, at Hilton Head Island. Photo Credit: Gullah Celebration By TRACY E. HOPKINS. Special to amNewYork January 13, 2014 3:08 PM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email The contributions to American history and the rich cultural heritage of African-Americans are celebrated every year in February during Black History Month. And when it's cold in New York, a trip down south, especially one where you might learn something, can sound very enticing. These family-friendly events and historic sites are a must. Savannah, Georgia The theme of this year's Savannah Black Heritage Festival (sbhf.mindofjonas.com) is "Dare to Dream: Create a Legacy." Each year the festival presents cultural performances, ethnic cuisine and crafts. All festival events are free and held at Savannah State University, the oldest public historically black college or university in Georgia. (Feb. 1-23) The Southern slave trade used Savannah as a major port and historic sites and museums honor the city's African-American experience. See the highlights on Savannah's African American Heritage Tour, (visitsavannah.com), which includes visits to the First African Baptist Church, which is the oldest black church in the U.S. and a stop on the Underground Railroad. (Ongoing) HOTEL PICK: The riverfront Bohemian Hotel (102 W. Bay St., 912-721-3815, bohemianhotelsavannah.com) blends old world Southern charm with modern style. Hilton Head, South Carolina Through food, music and visual arts, The Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration (gullahcelebration.com) showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Geechee or Gullah people -- the descendants of enslaved West Africans -- and their history on Hilton Head Island. Events range from free with donation to $12 per plate for the popular food fest, Taste of Gullah. (Feb. 1-23) HOTEL PICK: Parklane Inn & Suites (12 Park Lane, 877-765-0921, hiltonheadparklanehotel.com) is just steps from the island's bike and nature pathways. Jamestown, Virginia As part of the "From Africa to Virginia" (virginia.org) theme for Black History Month, gallery exhibits and guided tours of Jamestown Settlement's outdoor living-history areas highlight the culture of the first known Africans in Virginia and the experience of Africans in 17th-century Virginia. At the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, visitors can learn about the lives of African Americans during that period. Admission is $16 for adults, $7.50 for children ages 6-12. (Through Feb. 28) HOTEL PICK: The Williamsburg Inn (136 East Francis Street, 757-220-7978, colonialwilliamsburg.com) is a luxury, historic hotel in the heart of colonial Williamsburg. Baltimore, Maryland The "Celebrate Black History Month at The B&O Railroad Museum" (borail.org) exhibit focuses on how significant social issues, such as segregation, affected railroading and heralds the chefs and waiters who worked on B&O dining cars. (Feb. 1-28) HOTEL PICK: Admiral Fell Inn (888 South Broadway, 410-522-7380, harbormagic.com) is a boutique hotel in quaint Fell's Point, a neighborhood near the Inner Harbor. By TRACY E. HOPKINS. Special to amNewYork Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.