Yes, I know it’s been some time since I’ve posted a blog. Sorry about that! Life and some other complex things got in the way of my blogging, but you’ll be happy to know that in 2018, it’s my goal to blog once per week and stick to a schedule.
No more self sabotage or getting out of it!
So, the topic for today is Savannah, Georgia. I call it the perfect haunt because it is a town on the Georgia coast that has a haunted history. Haunted hotels, haunted bars, ghost tours for the walk-friendly and bus ghost tours for those who don’t like standing on their feet for 2 hours.
A friend of mine is also going to Savannah soon, so I figured this would be a good travel blog to refer to. As many of you know, NO GRITS NO GLORY was set in Savannah, one of my favorite cities on Earth. And that book practically wrote itself. The muse drips with the Spanish moss dangling from the live oaks; the wind whispers secrets that she wants to have me type down and add into my story.
I wish all books were as easy to write as that one, but Savannah itself did lend a haunted hand.
So, if you’re going to Savannah, here are some things I recommend:
Things to See & Do
This is my favorite and it’s always a must-see for anyone. It is a bit difficult to find, so make sure you ask your local hotel for directions. Spend some time wandering around, taking in the scenery and enjoying this photographer’s paradise. There are some famous graves such as Johnny Mercer and Baby Gracie, along with a few notable others.
My favorite part of Bonaventure is the elaborate carvings, statues, and nature. Nature conservationist John Muir even said that he would rather spend time in Bonaventure with the dead, rather than hanging out with the living. This quote makes perfect sense once you’ve seen this gem of Savannah.
If you want to learn the history and don’t want to trek it on your own, I highly recommend the 2-3 hour walking tour with the fantastic Shannon Scott. He’s a well-versed historian and great storyteller. Find out more info here.
This is the famous street in historic downtown that is akin to other cities’ famous streets. It’s a walk-able stretch of land beside the river with tons of hotels, restaurants and bars. There is usually a festival or activity going on by the river on weekends. So shop for pralines, have lunch, watch the dolphins in the river around 8 am when they come into the river from the ocean to have breakfast.
There is plenty of shopping here too, and you can watch the barges pull into the port while you stroll along the riverfront.
Mercer House, Telfair Museum of Art, Juliette Low House
I combine these 3 because they are great for a first-time visitor to Savannah, but not necessarily a place to keep returning to on subsequent trips. FYI for those of you who saw the movie, “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” – the “bird girl” statue is in the Telfair museum. It used to be in Bonaventure until numerous vandalism attempts required her to be moved after the movie came out.
Broughton Street & City Market – For the shoppers!
Broughton Street is about 3 blocks off River Street and is a shopping/quick dining haven. There are hotels, specialty martini shops, stores, etc. You can also find plenty to shop for on River Street, but check out Broughton too.
City Market is near the river and has many eateries, shops, antiques, etc. to browse.
Leopold’s Ice Cream
While you’re on Broughton, check out Leopold’s Ice Cream (operating since 1919) right next to the theater. It’s a Savannah tradition. Check out their website here.
The historic district of Savannah is laid out in a grid format, with numerous “squares” separating streets every few blocks. This is a lovely thing for bikers and walkers, because each square has a park all its own. Statues, monuments, restaurants, offices are located on each square.
If you’re driving, well, the squares can be challenging to drive through if you’re in a hurry. Just relax and take your time, and you’ll be fine.
Trivia: Chippewa Square is where Tom Hanks sat on the bench for most of the “Forrest Gump” movie. However, the bench was a prop, so it is no longer there.
My favorite squares are Reynolds (where The Pink House restaurant is located), Whitefield (where there is a gazebo), and Troup (there’s a special water fountain just for dogs!)
Walk through all the squares and enjoy the individuality when you’re there! Click here for info on all the squares of Savannah.
Don’t miss the chance to do a haunted tour of Savannah! There are many companies that host them. If the weather is nice and you’re up for being on your feet for a few hours, do the walking tour. It takes about 2 hours. You won’t be traveling further than a mile or so, but you will be standing the whole time.
If standing isn’t your thing, then opt for the hearse or bus ghost tour! Still as fun and works if the weather is cold or wet, too!
I’ve eaten casual and fine dining, I’ve had drinks in a few places to overlook the river, and below are my favorites. You really can’t go “wrong” in Savannah because the food is good and the drinks overflowing. But my recommendations after 20+ years of visiting Savannah are the following list. Click on the restaurant name to go to their website for more info.
Delicious food, great drinks, a jazz piano bar downstairs, and an interesting historic site of Savannah. The Emancipation Proclamation was read aloud on the Pink House steps when slavery ended. And that’s just one of the many historic facts about the place. It’s worth going to even if you’re just stopping by for a drink.
Expensive, fine dining, special occasion. Every birthday or anniversary, if I’m in Savannah, I go here. But it’s not the kind of thing you can do every night because it’s pricey.
I put these two together because I went to both in the same trip and I don’t remember which was which, but the food was great and the atmosphere idyllic. Vic’s on the River is great if you can get a river-view table.
This is one of the few great restaurants on River Street. Most of River Street is good, but the food is better once you get off the beaten path. However, I’ve had fantastic steaks here so if you’re a meat lover, it’s worth checking out and is a bit more casual than the previous listings.
It’s right on River Street and is the perfect place to stop and have a drink or appetizers. This is one of the best Irish pubs I’ve ever seen. Their main menu dishes are okay, but the atmosphere and drinks are the best. Sit upstairs and watch the river while having a pint. Or sit downstairs because they have nightly entertainment and the music is great. Always a must do.
Great and affordable breakfast/lunch place. If you don’t want to pay a fortune for a hotel breakfast or you just want something local, this place is delicious and affordable. It’s near Broughton & Drayton Streets.
Mrs. Wilkes OR Paula Deen’s Lady & Sons
If you have not ingested down home, Southern food since birth, you may want to check out Mrs. Wilkes or Paula Deen’s restaurants. They both feature a TON of down-Southern-home cooking. But do be warned – they get crowded easily and you will wait in a line. And you’ll want to exercise afterward because they practically slather butter on everything!
Admittedly, I didn’t really care for the food at this place. HOWEVER, it has a haunted history AND they have staff dressed up as pirates who can give you a tour. It makes the place festive and it’s worth going there for the experience. The food wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as the other places.
But go there, maybe for lunch, and look down into the Shanghai tunnels where unsuspecting men were dragged off onto ships when they became too inebriated to notice–until it was too late!