Travel Thursday: Savannah
As I sit here watching more snow accumulate outside my window, I cannot help but think of warmer times. Where would I rather be besides Boston? Pretty much anywhere right now. One of my favorite mother-daughter trips was to Savannah, Georgia where the sun beamed down on us for three whole days (what I would give for that right now!).
Smaller than its big sister Charleston, and much less well-known, Savannah charms the socks off of you from the moment you arrive. The pedestrian friendly streets make it incredibly easy to get around and you will want to walk all day to take in the historic buildings and the 22 squares throughout the city. The imposing oaks in Forsyth Park make it obvious why General Sherman chose not to burn Savannah on his march through the South in 1864 – it was too beautiful.
Before you go: Read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt
This best-selling nonfiction story is based on events that happened in Savannah in the 1980s making it a must read before you visit the city. The twists and turns make this murder case suspenseful and as an added bonus you can tour the Mercer Williams House where the story takes place.
When to Go: Spring and Fall are the best time to go because the air is cooler, but temperatures are still warm. St. Patrick’s Day is another popular time to visit, as the city hosts one of the biggest parades and celebrations in the country.
WHERE TO EAT:
One of my favorite parts about visiting the South is the food! Southern cities sure know how to welcome visitors with their cuisine, and Savannah is no exception. There is simply not enough time to try it all!
Best Overall: Olde Pink House
Chances are if you are visiting Savannah, someone has recommended for you to try the Olde Pink House. It is the number one recommendation I give to anyone visiting Savannah. This historic pink mansion provides Southern food at its finest and the charm to go along with it. The rooms are quaint and the menu is authentic – the hardest part is deciding what to get.
Best Splurge: Elizabeth’s on 37th
My mom and I stumbled across Elizabeth’s on 37th by chance and thank goodness we did. Recommended by a Savannah native, Elizabeth’s is also housed in an old historic mansion and exudes charm (what doesn’t in Savannah?) in the small, homey rooms. The wine list is impressive and the seafood is incredible – the place to go for a classy dinner in Savannah.
Best Family Style: Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room
You cannot make reservations at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room, but waiting in line is part of the experience. The line forms hours before it opens, and when you are finally ushered in, you are seated at tables of 16 and served family style. The food is not light, but it is truly Southern with grits, biscuits and macaroni and cheese being a few of the table favorites.
Best Pizza: Vinnie Van Go-Go’s
I’m a pizza girl through and though, so whenever I visit a new city I tend so seek out their best pizza place. In Savannah, Vinnie Van Go-Go’s is it. The slices are delicious (and huge!).
Best Ice Cream: Leopold’s
This old-fashioned ice cream parlor will make you feel as if you are in another decade. Seasonal ice creams change with the seasons (if you visit in the fall, the pumpkin is the way to go).
Best Spot for Drinks: Top of the Bohemian Hotel
With views overlooking the Savannah River, the Bohemian Hotel is the obvious place for drinks and live music!
What to Do: Full of charming mansions and green squares, Savannah has plenty to keep visitors busy; however, it is not too overwhelming. You will not leave feeling like you have only scratched the surface. If you have read “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” The Mercer Williams House is a great place to start. The famous statue on the cover is at the Telfair Museum of Art, along with other great Impressionist works. Another historical home is that of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts. The truth is you have your pick – there are many that are not as famous, but just as beautiful. A walk through Forsyth Park to view the oaks and fountains is one of the quintessential experiences, as is walking through some of the 22 green squares scattered throughout the city. Bonaventure Cemetery is famous for it gothic and haunting appearance.
What to Skip: The ghost tours came highly recommended and since Savannah is voted one of the most haunted cities in America and we were visiting Halloween weekend, it seemed like an obvious thing to do. The truth is, neither one of us believed the tales (or enjoyed them), and we ended up skipping out halfway through the tour.
Where to stay: Mansion at Forsyth Park
Location across from its namesake, Forsyth Park, this boutique hotel is in the downtown area and accessible to restaurants and places of interest. The rooms are spacious and beautiful and the art collection throughout the hotel makes it feel like a museum.
If you have visited some of the larger Southern cities, but have not yet made it to Savannah, this is the city to head to now. Besides being charmed by the architecture and cobblestone streets, the atmosphere of the city and the friendly people will have you wondering why you do not live here yourself.
Have you been to Savannah? Is it somewhere that you would like to visit?