We knew that the month of December was going to be a crazy one for me and the boy, so when we saw travel deals for the new year pop up for both hotels and flights, we jumped at the chance to head somewhere south once things had quieted down. We’d been talking for a year about making our way to Savannah and Charleston, and with flights departing at decent times and cheap hotel rooms to be had, we pounced. We were only gone for three days total, but it was perfect. Both cities were lovely relaxed places with delicious food. We didn’t have a real schedule in either place, only a couple of dinner reservations.
I’m breaking up our travels so you can get a better, full taste of each city (even if we didn’t have as much time away as we would have liked), and also because this post is quite long as it is. I’ll also link to my city guides at the end of each post. I always over-plan, but it’s good to have options, and know what’s recommended and close.
We got in early evening on Friday, dropped our bags at the hotel and needed to find food…and beer. Luckily for us, one of the recommended bars (The Distillery) was across the street, and they served food. We ordered a flight of beers so we could sample as many as possible (are you on Untappd? I am – follow me!), I had a fried chicken sandwich and the boy had fish tacos. We finished off the night by splitting a peach cobbler (it was big, so that was a good idea!), and waddled back the 400 feet or so to our hotel where we slept soundly.
Saturday we slept late, and when we got up, made our way towards the waterfront to B. Matthews Eatery, which had been recommended by my sister (and the travel guide). There was a short wait, so we wandered down to the waterfront to look around before they texted to say our table was ready. We should have known from the crowd of people waiting that things would be slow, but despite ordering fairly quickly and being brought coffee for the boy and a mimosa for me, we still waited 40 minutes before any food showed up. Perhaps it was a busy day, but our waitress would hardly look at us, and until we stopped the manager to ask about the delay, we had no idea what was going on. The food was good, but as you can see from the picture my turkey sausage was a little blackened. At least the grits were good?
After eating, we popped in to The Paris Market & Brocante to look around because I’d heard it was worth a look. It’s definitely a fun shop, especially if you were looking for a gift, or something decorative for your home. Unfortunately, I was neither. And I also had the misfortune of trying out a hand lotion that turned out to be greasy. Ick. But we made our way over to the SCAD Museum of Art, and went in. It was SUPER COOL. Being able to see what’s going on in the minds of young artists, and to see the new and interesting things they’re doing and the art that inspires them is always fun. There were also some historical exhibitions too that showed off furniture design (a secret passion of mine), and one on fashion and art (another favorite). With entrance only costing $10, it was well worth the money. We popped into Peddler Jim’s Antiques afterwards since it was across the street and I’d heard it had unpredictable opening hours. It was chock full of junk, fascinating and sad to look at, but I did find 3 cool vintage postcards, and paid $1.90 for them (the lady at the counter didn’t want my pennies, and it was either another ten cents that way (with the pile of small change I’d already handed her, or get her to break a $50. Eep!).
Despite having finished breakfast only a few hours earlier, I was feeling peckish, so after stopping by the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace to find it closed for the month of January (those Girl Scouts must be messy if it takes a whole month to clean up after them!), I convinced the boy that we needed to stop in someplace to get a little something. We sat at the bar at Soho South Cafe where he had a beer and a waffle, I had a cocktail and a salad. Vacation! I was feeling much better after the second round of food, and so we wandered more. We passed The Book Lady Bookstore and popped our heads in. I found a book that looked interesting, and added it to my Goodreads list (no need to fill my already small weekend bag), but it looked like the kind of cozy shop you would be happy to sit down for a while and enjoy that new book you just bought. We wandered back out and swung by the Andrew Low House and the Girl Scout First Headquarters, but didn’t go in. There was a wedding being set up in Lafayette Square which was fun to watch gather as we walked past on our way in to the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist (I’m a sucker for stained glass and soaring gothic ceilings).
We left the cathedral in search of some time to chill out. We walked into Forsyth Park, which is the large park in the center of town. We found a bathroom in the cafe at the center (near the playgrounds if you’re as desperate as I was), and it made the rest of the stroll that much easier and relaxing. There was a band playing in the amphitheater, and we enjoyed the people-watching as there were all sorts – families, people with dogs, girls with hula hoops, groups trying to slack-line. At the very south end of the park, we made our way to the Sentient Bean where the boy ordered a coffee and I had a tea latte. We wandered back into the park and just sat for a while, watching the slack-liners, cooing at puppies, making up stories about people as they passed. When we were done with our beverages, we wandered back towards the hotel.
By the time we got back it was still fairly early, and so decided to pregame dinner with a happy hour drink at the Distillery – it was just across the street after all! After the drink, a short nap, and time to get dressed, we made our way to our dinner reservation at The Grey, which has gotten TONS of good press. It opened last year to acclaim for its design, preservation, and food. And oh – that food was so good. Modern Southern, and just yummy as can be. The carrots I had as an appetizer were amazing, and I don’t really like cooked carrots. My pork shank literally fell off the bone, and the chocolate parfait we shared for dessert was incredible. The boy commented afterwards that it was probably in the top three restaurants that we’ve ever visited together, and I agree. So good.
We slept late the next morning, and managed to get all our bags packed just in time to head out the door and go find breakfast. But it turns out the rest of Savannah did that too…or else had been to church and THEN was going to eat breakfast. Our first choice of Collins Quarter had a 45 minute wait, but the host there was so kind as to direct us to a few different brunch spots, one of which was J. Christopher’s, a place that hadn’t been on my guide, but that was hopping. There was a short wait, but we were soon seated for a delicious breakfast, both of us ordering omelettes and grits. When we finished, we took the long way back to the hotel, stopping on our way at the Savannah Bee Company. We tasted honeys, and perused skin care products before making our purchases and heading back to the hotel to get our car.
The final stop in Savannah proper was Bonaventure Cemetery. I always enjoy cemeteries, though the boy kept asking why I was taking so many pictures. Because it’s creepy and beautiful – that’s why! Bonaventure has so many large trees with Spanish moss hanging that it just was ominous and beautiful. There are a lot of graves that have been in place for a few hundred years, many bearing names that also appeared on streets we’d recently walked. We admired the (occasionally creepy) statues, and saw the grave of Johnny Mercer, who I did not realize had written the song Moon River. It was peaceful and lovely, and a great way to end our too-brief time in “The Hostess City of the South”.
I think we’ll be back someday.
Savannah Travel Guide (use tabs at the bottom to navigate type of place, which are ranked by number of recommendations)