For the longest time Georgia has dreamed of Savannah. It has a mystique, a gentile shabbiness that pulls you in and makes you deeply curious. Winding the sleepy streets, taking in the worn doors on grand old mansions, it feels like a movie set, or a time long ago.
Unlike Charleston, Savannah hasn’t bothered to gentrify itself, save for a small touristy area that even the locals scoff at. The character runs deep here, it is truly enchanting, mystical and unlike anything we have ever experienced. Visiting Savannah was a longtime coming, and as an added bonus Georgia found herself there on Halloween, making the most of the city’s haunted history.
Here is what Georgia discovered in our Eat, Drink, Stay, See, Acquire suggestions to help you uncover the mystical qualities of Savannah. Let us know in the comments if you have a favorite spot we have missed.
|A Guide to Mystical Savannah|
Best time of Year
Fall and Spring have the ideal temperatures. Halloween is an especially fitting time to go take in the haunted legends of the place.
Recommended Number of Days
2 days is plenty of time to walk or bike downtown at a leisurely pace while also fitting in shopping and sight seeing. You will also want to rent a car for a day. Parking downtown requires a serious supply of quarters. When you first drive into town, stop by the local tourist office for a visitor parking pass to save you the stress of scrounging up quarters every time you want to park.
Recommended Number of People
1 to 2 people feels right, there is something intimate about this city that calls for a solo trip or a close friends getaway. Georgia visited solo for a few days and it was perfect for that too.
Apps to Download
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil audio book. Trust us, it will get you in the right spirit and can be listened to as you stroll around and see all of the places referenced in the story. At the very least, promise us you’ll watch the movie before you go.
Eat, Drink, Stay, See, Acquire
- Chef Mashama Bailey has set Savannah’s dining scene on fire. The Grey on MLK is hands down perhaps the coolest restaurant we have ever been to. And when we say cool we don’t mean simply hip, we mean just flat out amazing in every way. It is an old Greyhound Bus Depot that has been converted into an incredible ambiance, with the old terminal numbers still above the doorways. They have a small bar with snacks and smaller bites, and an interior restaurant bar that may be the preferred seating in the restaurant for how well it is set up. They send you little biscuits with Meyer lemon jelly, and at the end, petit fours of homemade apple jellies with Thai basil that are blissful. Th service is incredible in that “they were there but they were not” kind of way. To top it off, they seem to treat solo diners with extra care, which is a rare thing to find at restaurants these days.
The Collins Quarter has a menu that is so plum full of delicious dishes it is hard to choose just one. The turmeric latte and matcha latte were particularly sublime drinks, and can even be purchased from their walk-up window before you stroll around Old Savannah’s neighborhoods.
- Smith Brothers Butcher Shop is a wonderful place to stop in for picnic fare or a smorgasbord of meats and sides from their pre-made counter. A friendly person behind the counter will let you taste anything you want and will be happy to chat about it. They also offer daily specials.
- 22 Square at Andaz Hotel serves up clean hearty southern food and big portions, an appetizer could be an entree! It is hard to eat there as a solo diner because with the portions so big, it limits how much you can try. BUT what makes them especially unique is their 75 mile rule – all of the ingredients come from within 75 miles of the restaurant. Now that’s something we want to support.
The Little Duck Diner is in the more touristy part of town but has a great ambience. We particularly loved their breakfast menu.
East End Provisions is set in a more residential part of town with a stripped down vibe and minimalist, delicious menu. We wish we lived next door, it would be our regular spot.
Leopold’s Ice Cream is an old school ice cream parlor on a popular main drag full of shops. The employees wear those white hats that make you kinda nostalgic. Try their pumpkin spice ice cream in the fall.
Others to Note:
The Olde Pink House Restaurant set inside an old mansion
The Public Kitchen and Bar, a mid century modern ambience with southern fare
Pacci Italian Kitchen in the Kimpton Brice Hotel
- The Six Pence Pub is cozy and worth a stop in for cider at the bar. They have a British phone booth and the British flag flying high!
- V&J Duncan is an absolute treasure. It has been open for over 30 years, filled with antique maps and illustrations. The King Charles Terrier Emma sits inside and greets you as an added bonus.
- M. Shaver Bookseller is a wonderful mom and pop bookstore that has room after room to explore. It is a must visit and a great place to pick up a Southern book to get you in the spirit.
- Capital Bee Company sells rare single varietal mono-floral honeys that they source from around the country. They have an amazing passion for honeybees that is worth supporting!
- Savannah’s small Design District has a cluster of locally owned shops and boutiques right in the historic district. It is full of charm and worth strolling.
- Chocolate by Adam Turoni is the chocolate shop off of Chippewa Square, the park in which Forrest Gump sat on a bench and told strangers his life story. The chocolates are works of art, each one displayed in a cabinet as if they are jewelry, along with other curiosities. If you want to have your own “life is like a box of chocolates” moment, buy yourself a few treats and sit in the park.
- The Mercer House Tour is well worth it for the history and stories attached to it. It is the house in which “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” was filmed based on the book which told detailed stories about the place and its owner.
- Start a walking tour at the north end of Forsyth Park on Bull Street. You will hit a new park every few minutes starting with Monterey Square covered in Spanish moss and surrounded by beautiful homes.
- Jones Street is not to be missed on your walk through the Historic District. It is especially wide and canopied by Spanish Moss. It is often referred to as the most beautiful street in the South.
Bonaventure Cemetery also should not be missed. It is gorgeous and full of history and legend. There are guided tours available as well as self-guided audio tours. It is set on the water and has some very famous people resting there.
Drive the 20 minutes to Tybee Island to see the small beach town. There is a wooden swing set on the sand perfect to swing and meditate on the beach.
We had a difficult time finding a place to stay in Savannah that combined the historic charm of Old Savannah with updated amenities. About 30 minutes away is Montage Palmetto Bluff which is amazing if you plan a slightly extended getaway. A few other spots that could work for accommodations are:
- Forsyth Park Inn
The Andaz Hotel
Cotton Sail Hotel