Travel Diary: A Much Needed Escape to Savannah
When I say I've been having a rough time lately, I don't mean they can't seem to get my chai latte right at Starbucks. I mean some life changing, will never be the same stuff. But hey, who doesn't go through things? The key is to keep moving. I've found that hard as of late with a big loss in our family, another mass shooting, earthquakes and hurricanes a plenty. It's enough to get anyone down. On our way back from a funeral in Atlanta, my husband and I decided to make an impromptu stop to feed our souls and found ourselves in Savannah, Georgia. It was a sweet, surprising respite and while we were still a little sad, this sleepy peaceful town was a much needed distration on our road trip home. And a reminder that life is still going on and happening, and in my case, this special person I lost would want me to smile and laugh and eat, so that's what we did.
Our stay started with checking into our hotel, the River Street Inn, a 200 year old converted cotton house in the Historic District, with minimal yet stately rooms and a complementary happy hour. The location was perfect, right on River Street with a ton of bars, places to eat and souvenir and craft shops. We parked down by the water and climbed a staircase to get to the hotel, where the receptionist noticed how short our stay was and upgraded us to a river view so we could get the full effect (score!).
I had no previous notions of what to expect in Savannah, and had no idea that the strip right by the water would be elevated like a little European city, with stairs leading up to different levels. . We spent a few hours walking the whole length of it, with salted caramel lattes from Vic's Coffee House .
The area was a bit touristy for our tastes so we crossed East Bay Street to find something more our speed. Market Street has another strip of shops, bakeries and art galleries so we perused for a bit before planning our evening. We stumbled across a few live music bars, but the music was too melancholy for the emotional state we were in, and it being a Tuesday night meant most places were empty. We did find a spot with pretty good baked oysters called Sorry Charlie's. We shared a tasty burger, fries and some greens - sorry I pretty much have no food photos! We were so hungry every time we sat down that it was the last thing on my mind.
On the way back to the hotel we stumbled upon a pretty epic sweet shop called Savannah's Original Praline Maker, where I bought a pecan caramel apple almost the size of my head. This place was a hall of temptations with fresh baked fudge, chocolate, and praline treats galore.
We ended the night at our hotel with a bottle of wine and a view of the river, which I could've stared at all night. There's something about being near water that makes me feel so calm!
I worked from 6am-10am the following morning, so thumbs up for the wifi. We wanted a cheap quick breakfast so we opted for the very affordable Goose Feathers Cafe, perfect to grab anything from oatmeal and fruit to eggs benedict. The cafe shares a cross street with the main shopping street in town, West Broughton, which pretty much has everything from Gap, to L'Occitane to Urban Outfitters. Since we can get those anywhere, we went on a hunt for cute, one of a kind shops to get a few trinkets.
First stop: The Paris Market. A treasure trove of things you never thought you needed but suddenly do. Olive oil soaps crafted in Provence. A copper bathtub. Playing cards with facts about wine on each one. Satchels of lavender. A biscuit and scone cutter. I really had to resist just doing all my Christmas shopping in there and calling it a day. There was also a cute little coffee and pastry shop attached with super pretty macarons, but we had just finished eating (darn it!).
Jones Street: We left Broughton street for Jones Street, a never-ending row of beautiful historical townhomes, dripping with ivy and Spanish moss. Every few blocks seems to be another park-like square with couples holding hands or someone lazing in the grass reading.
We made a left somewhere along the way and found what turned out to be my favorite area, Bull Street - home to endless independent shops and eateries. A few favorites here:
From the outside you won't be sure what it is; a library? A jewelry store? Further inspection will show you that it's an artisan chocolate shop, where all its confections are housed in glass bookshelves. They literally look like tiny pieces of art. While chefs work in the visible kitchen in back, grab a pair of tongs and wooden tray and go to town. My favorite? The Mexican Mayan Truffle, infused with cinnamon and habanero peppers and flecked with 24k gold.
I could've stayed there for hours shifting through the beautful chaos. It reminded me of the Shakespeare & Company store in Paris. Old, dark, cluttered and magical. If you're lucky you'll catch a reading, free cookies or a mega sale.
A gift and home shop with ocean inspired bits and bobs. A great place to shop for mom (we both found something for our mothers here!). There's even a whole wall dedicated to Veuve Cliquot Champagne.
After a little retail therapy we went on the hunt for a quick (and free) dose of art. We discovered we were already on the same street as The Savannah College of Art and Design, otherwise known as SCAD. They have a gift shop with student and local work right next to their admissions office, which is open for the public to browse the latest pieces on display. The main area gives off major Alice in Wonderland vibes with its saturated color palette and chairs pinned to the walls. I always say I'll never go back to school but this place, with the perfect coffee shop across the street and charming student housing, made me think again.
At this point we were starving and I'd been craving pizza for days, so we did some research on the best spots. We settled on Vinnie A Go Go's, a casual joint on a prime corner lot on Market Street. Big slices, good sauce, thin crusts, and bottles of beer. What more can you ask for?
For a night cap, we took a drive (we rented a car but this is the first time we used it the whole trip) outside of downtown, through a true local country road lined with live oak trees, to a place we felt like we discovered ourselves. This restaurant in the marsh is called The Wyld, and has super local, insider-y feel. Even though we had a whole pizza waiting for us in the car, we couldn't resist trying something from their unique menu.
The hubby went for a cauliflower soup with peanuts, paprika and crab meat, while I had seasonal fall vegetables (a mix of brussell sprouts, radishes, artichokes and brown butter pears). We sipped on gin cocktails and watched one of the most unique sunsets I've ever seen. We were surrounded by little fishing boats, water with reeds and grass and twinkling cafe lights.
So that's pretty much it! I think one more day would've been enough to get a full feel. Places we didn't get to but would go back to see:
- Wormsloe State Historic Site: A breathtaking avenue lined with Live Oak Trees leading to the ruins of a once thriving plantation.
- Bonaventure Cemetery: I'm not one for spooky things so I wouldn't do a ghost tour, even though they're one of the most popular activities. If anything I'd visit a historical graveyard, like this one, which honestly looks like beautiful garden.
- Tybbe Island: I've never been to a beach in the south but we ran out of time. It's accessible by car and I imagine a good clam bake and sunsets.
- The Collins Quarter: I was so sad this restaurant was closed on Tuesdays. I've read so many raves about the avocado toast and lavender coffee, and everything looks so instagram-worthy.
One thing I've learned
in the past few weeks is yes, take time to mourn loss: a job, a relationship, a loved one. But you have to evenutally push through the pain, surround yourself with people and things you love, be grateful for the time you have and find a place to reset. So thank you, Savannah, for reminding me to live.
A few more pics for you to enjoy: