Saturday, June 29, 2013

Morning in the Garden of Good and Evil, or What I Did in Savannah

I'm just gonna cut to the chase. Go to Savannah. I mean it. Get online right now, and make your reservations. Great history and outstanding food. Fun shopping and beautiful parks. Cemeteries and beaches. Fine old homes and haunted walking tours. A big old fort and a river walk. Did I mention the food, the parks, and the beaches? OK, well, it bears repeating.

It was our annual girlfriends weekend-turned-week. Over the years we've been to Memphis, Orlando, New York, Atlanta, Franklin (TN), Chattanooga, and the incomparable Sand Mountain, Alabama. Five of us get together to eat and gossip while we still have our teeth and can hear. This year, alas, Linda couldn't join us (and she was greatly missed, though we did gossip about her - kidding), Susan, the two Sharons, and this one Mary soldiered on. In Savannah, Georgia.

I could turn this into a series of posts or a coffee table book, but I'm just too darn busy/lazy to do that. So. Here's my Top 10 Savannah must-do list, a little quickie guide, to get you started:
1.  Savannah has lots of accommodation options - cute bed and breakfasts, chain hotels, flop houses, the street. May I recommend Inn at Ellis Square? We stayed in suites - one huge bedroom, one huge sitting room, and a fairly roomy bathroom. Breakfast is included. It's right next to the City Market, River Walk is just across the street, and you're conveniently situated in the historic district. 

2.  Ditto for food options. Savannah and environs are chock full of excellent, excellent restaurants (high-brow and low-brow), and we hit several of the best. The Olde Pink House, 1790 Inn and Restaurant, Clary's, Churchill's Pub, The Chart House, AJ's, The Crab Shack. And yes, we ate at Paula Deen's Lady and Sons. Anyway, this is an eatin' town. Go for it.

3.  And if it's an eatin' town, it's a drinkin' town. Even more so. In fact, it's an "open container" town. Yep, just like New Orleans, you can walk around the streets with a drink in your hand. Which made our ghostly walking tour sooo much more fun. 

4.   The squares. Savannah's Historic District is laid out in a series of parks, each unique, historic, and beautiful. They're beautiful in the morning and late at night. Charming!

5.  The cemeteries. Savannah offer two of the best cemeteries I've ever had the privilege to tromp through. Colonial Park Cemetery, smack in the middle of the Historic District, is the older. You'll have to drive a few miles out of town to get to the remarkable Bonaventure, my personal favorite.

6.  Historic homes. The only historic homes tour I took was of the Owens-Thomas house on Oglethorpe Square, but there are many, many prominent homes to visit, if you like that sort of thing.

7.  The churches. Many of Georgia's oldest churches are in Savannah, and their spires and steeples rise above the squares. Take some time to step inside the ones that are open to get another peek at history or say a little prayer.

8.  The ghosts. Might as well tell you now that the whole entire city is haunted. This is a city with a past, I tell you. Take a ghost tour, check your photos for strange blobs of blur, be aware of a sudden chill or breeze out of the blue. And of course, everything looks creepier with all that Spanish moss hanging from the trees.

9.  Tybee Island. You want beach? Savannah's got a great one, complete with a lighthouse. I recommend spreading your towel on the stretch between the pier and the southernmost point. Aaaaah. And it's less than 30 minutes' drive from the heart of Savannah.

10.  A fort. Make some time to pull over and visit Fort Pulaski as you head out to Tybee. This Civil War fort didn't make much of a stand against the Union Army, but it's well restored and maintained. Do go.

If I haven't convinced you (what are you, crazy?), then settle in with John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and you will want to just pack up and head to Savannah. But you don't have to spend midnight in any of the gardens, evil or otherwise. They're just as charming in the morning.

I don't know about you, but I could go for a peach sangria in a to-go cup and a spooky walking tour right about now.

1 comment:

Liz said...

Sounds wonderful! And the food, did you mention the food?