Category: Travel

Hello everyone!

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

Bonaventure Cemetery

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.

River Street 

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.

Savannah Squares

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. 

Ghost Tour!

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.

The Pink House

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.

Garibaldi’s or Vic’s on the River

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. 

River House Seafood

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.

Kevin Barry’s Irish Pub

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! 

The Pirate’s House

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!

And that’s Elaine’s travel tips! I hope you all give Savannah a try sometime! Wonderful city with much to see, do, and eat/drink.

Hi everyone!

Today I’m blogging about haunted places in Savannah, Georgia. Come check out the post on EJ Steven’s blog by clicking here! 





And here it is…the story of my encounter with Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory. Otherwise known as Jim Parsons. Or God.

My wonderful friend Art somehow snagged 2nd row seats at Studio 54, where ACT OF GOD, a modern day play about the retelling of the 10 Commandments Family Feud Style, was playing. And what a night!

First off, I’ve never had such fantastic seats. I was 10 feet away from Jim Parsons. I could see every eyebrow arch, every eye roll, every smirk. Things those in the nosebleed section couldn’t see.

Then I found out I was in the hot seat!

For those not familiar with the play, it is mainly a monologue by Jim Parsons and he is accompanied by his 2 angels, Gabriel and Michael. God has come down from Heaven (in the form of Jim Parsons, who is unaware God is doing this) and he wants to comment on the 10 commandments and how frustrated he is with current culture. One example is him talking about how much he doesn’t get involved in sports. He’s not “for” your team when your team wins, nor is he “against” your team if you lose. The 90 minute play is filled with fun, laughter, and Jim Parsons is absolutely wonderful. In addition, despite the themes, it does well with not being sacrilegious.

Anyway, moving on…

He starts talking about how he was bored, so he created humans. A few minutes later, the angel Michael walks off the stage and right up to me. Puts a microphone in my face and tells “God” that I have a question, and what is my name?

I answer, and Jim Parsons says, “Hi Elaine.” I grinned ear to ear. Then the angel says, “Elaine wants to know why things were created. Why we’re here.”

To which, Jim Parsons gets that “Sheldon look of exasperation” in his eye and says, “Snap, snap, Elaine! I told you, I was bored so I created humans. You can’t be falling asleep or daydreaming, darling, you’re seated in the prime area! Chop chop, pay attention, okay Elaine?”

I laughed and nodded, then figured that was it. A few other people gave their names and the angel asked more questions, and the play continued. No more interaction, right?


At one point, Jim Parsons speaks about the wrath in the Old Testament and then tells the audience not to worry. He has no plans to end our lives or bring us to Heaven anytime soon. Then he pauses, arches an eyebrow, and says, “Well, perhaps one of you. At 3:36 a.m. tomorrow.”

Then a light shines on the top of my head!!! The whole audience is dark, and I have a Spanish Inquisition style light beaming on me.

To which Jim Parsons asks, “Is that Elaine again? Okay, hon. See ya soon, darlin’.”

It was hilarious, fun, and I really enjoyed being part of things. He’s a fabulous and talented actor, and I loved my night seeing this Broadway play.

For the “best of Sheldon” humor on The Big Bang Theory, click here to watch.



New York City. The Big Apple.

Red Bleachers where people sit and watch the lights on Broadway

What a place. And I’ve only been here 2 days.

I left the house at 6 a.m. on Monday, went straight through the Starbucks drive-thru and got an iced coffee to keep me awake as I headed to the airport. So glad I allowed for time because the security lines were ridiculously long. Wrapped around the atrium several times long. It reminded me of seeing the Empire State Building the last time I was in New York. There’s a line. To get to another line. To jockey for position in yet another line.

Note to self: do not try to go see the Empire State Building at sunset, and do not be fooled by short lines. They are never short. How Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks ever got up there at the perfect sunset moment to meet up for Valentine’s Day in Sleepless in Seattle is a Hollywood hoax.

Anyhoo, there’s much construction going on here in NYC so even the air conditioned taxi only moved at a snail’s pace to get us to Times Square. The President was also in town so that only added to streets being blocked off and more crowds.

After getting settled into our Times Square hotel and vegging, I met up with some local friends here and we visited a few familiar haunts. For those travel oriented, here you go:

  • Monte’s in The Village. Fabulous Italian, a family run place for close to 100 years. How a family has worked together and maintained a business for almost a century is a testament to how well it is run. Most families wouldn’t even want to work together in a professional way.
  • La Lanterna, also in the Village and closer to NYU. Wonderful and intimate cafe for coffee, gelato, anything you want. Those of you who read my 2nd book in the Elemental Clan Series, RAGING FIRE, this is the place my characters frequent. It’s an essential part of the NYC experience.

Tuesday was filled with more sightseeing, including a lovely place to have breakfast and coffee in the West Village called The Bus Stop Cafe. I love the West Village. It’s the only place I’ve been in New York that doesn’t feel as crowded and crazy as NYC can seem (especially in the Midtown/Times Square area). It’s also one of the few areas where you’ll see people walking their dogs. Everyone just seems more laid back here.

Did I mention people walk dogs here? I even saw a couple walking a Great Dane. A GREAT DANE. In New York City!!!

Then we went to see the High Line. For those who don’t know, the High Line used to be a train line but after years of being abandoned, the city turned it into a park, walking path, and great place to enjoy views of the Hudson River while surrounded by flora and fauna.

Here’s a few pics near the 14th Street entrance:

Einstein Wall Art at the Highline        highline_flowers

We did the Circle Line boat tour later in the day. Even though I’ve done the abbreviated tour (1 hour) before, this 2.5 hour one still had interesting info and fun tour guides. They pointed out popular spots in movies, where Sigourney Weaver lives, and we also saw the Brooklyn Bridge and Statue of Liberty. Some photos:




















And then came Tuesday night. Broadway. The best night I have ever experienced on Broadway.

My friends had somehow managed to snag 2nd row seats at Studio 54 Theater where ACT OF GOD, starring Jim Parsons from The Big Bang Theory, is playing. So we go inside the famous old club from the 70s and go to our 2nd row seats.

Blog coming soon, telling the fun of seeing Jim Parsons on Broadway…

Hi all,

Yesterday was quite interesting. I took a day trip to visit some film locations that were in MY COUSIN VINNY and FRIED GREEN TOMATOES. Those movies were both filmed in South Georgia, USA, for those who don’t know :)

We started the day at a coffee shop in the Monticello Town Square, where the courthouse stands on one end. The courthouse from MY COUSIN VINNY. And it’s true. They make it look bigger on TV.












Then we went past the Sac-O-Suds, the place where Ralph Macchio accidentally steals a can of tuna fish and that sets the whole MY COUSIN VINNY movie in motion.










Then we went to see the little town of Juliette, Georgia, where FRIED GREEN TOMATOES was filmed. And yes! I was so excited because we had lunch at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Besides having absolutely incredible food (and of course, fried green tomatoes!) it was lovely to see the actual location that was used for Iggy’s and Ruth’s cafe in the movie.











We couldn’t go there and not have some of the tasty Fried Green Tomatoes!










After lunch and some browsing through the quaint town of Juliette, we passed the tiny place that served as Smokey Lonesome’s place in the movie. This is where he slept while Ruth brought him a blanket.










Overall, a fantastic day. If you ever get down that way, definitely make time to stop in at the Whistle Stop Cafe. It’s crowded on the weekends–especially in the summer–but the food was absolutely delish!