Southern summer is a magical thing – a film of golden sunlight sits over the region creating a warm haze that you can’t help but smile at. It encourages you to laugh, to seek beauty, to explore. I traveled to Savannah on rainy Friday afternoon – listening to Mumford as I glided along and wondering why the heck I had never made this excursion before. After all, it’s only a 90 min drive from Charleston! I knew it would be a short weekend, but a peaceful getaway with one of my very best friends was all I needed. Well, that and brunch.
Savannah is equal parts color, character and charm. Tranquil squares pepper the city, boasting sanctuary from the heat only found in Southern cities like this. And Victorian-style homes, spared by the toils of the Civil War, boast their splendor along the grid of the town.
We stayed in one such residence, more a luxury bed & breakfast than the Airbnb it was. Our second floor room featured antique fixtures and a reading nook overlooking the front lawn. But most importantly – it included free wine. My friend, Rachel, arrived after I did, and while I waited for her entrance, she implored me to watch Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil – a movie that paints a famously eclectic picture of Savannah.
We started our first day of strong with a visit to the Paris Market for iced lavender lattes – it was Bastille Day after all! A European Anthropologie in appearance and content, I could have stayed in this fine establishment all day. After perusing the colorful illustrated greeting cards, botanical prints, vintage chairs and spotted seashells, I was hook, line and sinker.
We made our way towards Zunzi’s for lunch – a Savannah staple featuring South African sandwiches. I was encouraged to go for the “Godfather” with smoked sausage and am so thankful I did!
All fueled up on the finest fare, we began to wander. Chippewa Square was calling our names, and it was there we lingered for a spell. (Interrupting this program because I hope you’re reading this in the Savannah accents as evidenced on the best episode of The Office.) This is the same square where the Forrest Gump bench used to sit! Though sadly, it’s been moved to a museum now.
We moseyed into some shops – NumberFourEleven, One Fish Two Fish and V&J Duncan Antique Maps, Prints and Books to name a few! The latter was a collector’s paradise. And since I’m working on a gallery wall for my office, it was mine as well. You wouldn’t believe how many maps, illustrations and atlases are stored in here. Every nook + cranny is not an exaggeration. I walked out spending a little more than I should have, so we’ll keep that between me and our All-Knowing God.
The afternoon heat became a tad unkind, but luckily Rachel had booked us an early dinner reservation at The Olde Pink House. Famous for all the right reasons, this historic home is spilling with the scent of good Southern fixin’s. And my heart did a somersault. Go for the fried pork chop with panko-crusted mac + cheese on the side- you won’t be disappointed.
We had drinks that evening at Artillery, a restored landmark full of romance and creativity. The menu featured probably 30 handcrafted cocktails, and in pursuit of the high life, I got one with egg white. It was difficult to leave with the 80’s soft rock crooning in my ear! The marbled countertops and black + white tiled floors were equally as compelling, but we went on to meet some friends at a few other places downtown. Including a dueling piano bar!
The next morning called for bacon. And lots of it. We made our way to Collins Quarter – an Aussie-owned restaurant with a breakfast I won’t soon forget. My meal was served in a cast iron skillet, and the latte was a nectar of the gods.
Post-brunch, we took a stroll down Jones St to admire the homes (and all the fluffy dogs who reside there). My favorite was easily a sage green townhome with a gaslit lamp out front. So much character!
In an effort to avoid melting, we decided to trade our feet for our wheels and took a short drive to Wormsloe Plantation. If you’ve been wondering the location of that famous avenue of twisty oaks dripping with Spanish moss – this is the place! The trees seemed to glide into infinity.
As our final stop, we sipped cocktails at Rocks on the River – a rooftop bar overlooking the harbor. Truffle fries in one hand and sangria in the other, all was well.
Savannah can be done in a short weekend like this, but I can’t promise you won’t want to plant your roots in this vibrant city. I thought it’d be a mini version of Charleston, but what I came to find is that it holds its own unique story. And I’m clamoring to plan my next visit now!