Tuesday, October 17, 2017

A Savannah City Guide

I heard things move a little slower down south, but tbh that didn't include Shay and me. In a three day trip to Savannah over the summer we did so. many. things. This trip was planned, somewhat spontaneously, out of a coincidental desire to take a trip to Georgia. Shay had an artist friend giving a talk back at her exhibition opening at the Telfair Musuem and Savannah has long been on my list of places to visit. So we picked a weekend, booked our flights, found and Airbnb, and found ourselves in sunny Savannah at the end of July. 

I realize it's now October, and I'm bringing this to you quite later than anticipated, but you know how it goes. My main hurdle was getting through the hundreds of photos I took, and with a city as beautiful as Savannah, choosing which ones to include was next to impossible. Nearly three months, later here's what you get: just over 50 photos from our weekend in Savannah, with a guide to all of our new "old favorite" haunts. In just three short days I fell in love with Savannah, and I hope these photos capture some small part of that. 

P.S. Shay is a literal model in all of these. It's unreal. 

To Do and See

Forsyth Park

Shay and I visited Forsyth Park before we even checked into our Airbnb. This was honestly because our check in time wasn’t until 3:30pm, even though we got into the city around 10am. It’s the largest park in Savannah’s historic district and absolutely gorgeous. We relaxed on a bench by the famous fountain with all of our bags. Shay graciously guarded them while I took photos.

Trolly Tour

Just embrace your nerdy tourist life here, trolley tour sticker and all. Trust me, i’ll be fun... especially when costume clad characters like Forest Gump climb aboard to give a speech. I’m not joking. The older women sitting in front of us literally yelled “run Forrest!” There are two major trolley tours in the City but you’ll want to go for Old Savannah Tours. They’re the one that’s locally owned, and even though I’ve only been on it once, I’m fiercely loyal. Having purchased the “hop on hop off” tickets, Shay and I not only used it for learning about the city and napping (cough Shay cough), but we also used it to conveniently travel around the city’s major areas.

The Book Lady Bookstore

Seriously charming bookstore full of new and used books, there's also a little coffee bar attached where you can grab a latte before perusing the fiction section.  I ended up buying a used copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil here. It's set in Savannah, and we kept hearing about it on all of our tours because it's still the longest running New York Times best seller since being published in 1994. 

Ghost Tour

Savannah is crazy haunted. Everyone kept talking about it “being built on the bones of it’s own dead.” Naturally, I wanted to go on a ghost tour, but Shay was not about it at all. I talked her into it by promising it wouldn’t be super scary — That was such an empty promise though, because honesty how the hell would I know? We ended up doing a haunted pub crawl which was a ton of fun! You walk from bar to bar with a tour guide and stop in front of sites to talk about historic hauntings. Plus Savannah has no open container laws, so you can literally just carry your drink around with you. 

Bonaventure Cemetery

Over 170 years old, this gorgeous and historic cemetery is open to the public and owned by the city of Savannah. At nearly 103 acres, it seemingly goes on forever. Shay and I explored specifically in search of Gracie Watson, a young girl who was famously the subject of one of the city’s more well known ghost stories.

Savannah is known for being a city full of artists, especially given it’s home to SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). The Telfair Museums are composed of three sites: The Jepson Center, Owens-Thomas House and Telfair Academy. During our trip we only ended up visiting the Telfair Museum (the most contemporary of the three) to see Shay’s friend give an artist talk back on her recently opened exhibit. You can however get a ticket that allows you access to all three during your visit.

A collection of shops and restaurants in the Historic District of downtown Savannah. At night, it’s packed with people and street musicians, and it’s actually where our haunted pub tour started.

Jones Street

There’s a reason it’s called “keeping up with the Jones.” Jones street is a residential street said to be one of the most beautiful in the US. It’s exactly what I imagined the houses would look like in Savannah. Shay and I spent a good hour admiring the homes, taking photos and popping into the occasional store. If you’re into architecture or photography it’s definitely worth your time to take a walk down Jones Street.

To Eat

The Collins Quarter

Our first stop in Savannah! It was perfect for brunch with unreal food (read: eggs benedict over french toast) and a super friendly staff. The vibe is great and the decor is reminiscent of an upscale diner with its tufted leather booths. We never felt rushed (even after we paid our check and were just waiting out a downpour), and they also so kindly tucked away our suitcases while we ate.

The Pink House

Super fancy, but my pro tip is to go down to the basement where you don’t need a reservation. Shay and I ended up stalking an older couple who looked like they were finishing up to claim seats at the bar, where you can order from the full menu. The food is incredible albeit pricey, but the vibe in the basement is cozy, with a big fireplace and live music. 

Conveniently located and great for a quick bite. I can’t fully weigh in here because I don’t eat oysters... but Shay seemed to enjoy them! I did try hush puppies for the first time here though, so that feels like a big milestone.

David’s Crab House

Shay was determined to find a hole in the wall seafood place in Savannah and she absolutely succeeded. This tiny space with a counter had a crazy extensive menu. Shay got a huge seafood platter for a great price, plus more hush puppies that were out of this world (Clearly, I’ve been missing out for years). We ate them in our Lyft and offered to share with the driver. She declined, but laughed.

The Wyld Doc Bar

Quite possibly my favorite meal we had in Savannah. Wyld is situated far outside the route of the trolley tour, and we stopped here after exploring Bonaventure Cemetery. With outdoor seating on country club creek, strings of bulb lights, and gorgeous menu branding, I loved this place before we even got to the food. A little after finishing our meal, we experienced a torrential downpour which strangely enough, made the view even more gorgeous.

To Drink 

Top Deck Bar

Located on the roof of the Cotton Sail Hotel, it's a great stop for a gorgeous view of the Savannah River. Although, afterward we were told by a few Lyft drivers that the rooftop bar at the hotel next-door is better... so who really knows what to think. The point is, it's worth visiting a rooftop bar to admire the stunning city view, and if you choose the Top Deck Bar you can admire while eating an awesome truffle soft pretzel.

The Ordinary Pub

Definitely a hole in the wall bar, Shay and I had the best time grabbing a drink and regrouping to figure out our dinner plans here. We even made friends with the bartender, although Shay thinks he swindled us when he asked "who's ready for shots?" Shay swears she thought that meant they would be free. I didn't care though, because the shot literally tasted like pancakes and orange juice, which is the only promise he made us.


The interior design here is everything. With its exposed brick, floor to ceiling mirrors and pillow adorned couches, it's perfect for grabbing a classy cocktail. I'm pretty sure we confused our waitress by continously changing seats... although I can't remember exactly why we kept moving. I think it had to do with Shay wanting to sit on the couches and me wanting a table by the window of the best photo light. I do know we sat at different tables for 10 minutes before I gave in and joined Shay on the couches.

Also side note: their website design is crazy cool, jazz music and all. 

For Dessert

Back in the Day Bakery

As sweet as its name would suggest, Shay and I came here for a morning coffee and lemon poppyseed scone before heading to Bonaventure Cemetery. It was all incredibly good and the perfect sugar filled way to start our day.

Chocolat by Adam Turoni

Stunningly creative chocolate truffles in seriously the most gorgeous shops ever. There are two in Savannah each with a different theme, the first being a dining room and the second a library. Prepare to feel fancy AF as you hold a silver tray in one hand, while selecting your truffles with silver tongs from a bookcase with the other. It's all very whimsical. 

Seriously saving the best for last here. Everyone you meet in Savannah will tell you to go to Leopold's for handmade ice cream before leaving, and they're absolutely right. You'll wait in line, but it will absolutely be worth it. Plus, every single person working there is the nicest person you'll ever meet, topped only by the next person you talk to. I indulged in a scoop of mint chocolate chip and mocha chocolate chip. Truly, nothing beats the Savannah heat like ice cream. 

And.... that's all she wrote, and by she I mean me. I hope you're inspired to plan a trip to Savannah or at least just fantasize about one. If you do end up going in reality though and use this guide, I'd truly love to hear about it. 

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