Yes, I finally got myself over to the USA.
My version of a road trip over the last 15 years or so have involved a few hours drive from Cambridge to either the north or south of the UK with a service station pit stop in the middle for a depressing cup of “Starbucks Coffee” en route.
So, imagine my sheer pleasure when I was offered the opportunity to not only visit Florida for a few weeks with my (not-so) new boyfriend, but also to join him and his family on a little trip up to the state of Georgia for a few days whilst there.
We were headed to Savannah, said to be the most haunted City in the United States of America, to spend some downtime relaxing after a hard few weeks of partying and relaxing… It’s a tough life!
This really was such an exciting adventure, a mini break within my holiday, what every vacation needs I’d say. Even with all the city exploring we were plotting, I managed to do it all comfortably in my Primark sandals the whole duration without a blister or any sore foot issues whatsoever – unheard of in new shoes for my huge size 8’s – it’s a great place to walk.
With half a day travel each way in our convoy of monster trucks… ok, perhaps a little exaggerated, but the Americans know how to own cars I can tell you… we enjoyed 48 hours of exploring and munching our way around the beautiful City and Coast of Savannah.
As a group of eleven, we hired a stunning Victorian mansion overlooking Forsyth Park, the perfect home away from home for being central and easily accessible to most of Savannah on foot.
If you find yourself heading to Savannah, I’d say that you’d most likely enjoy exploring absolutely anywhere you happen to stumble upon, it’s a very exciting place indeed. Crammed with green parks, superb eateries and coffee houses, bars and pubs on every corner and amazing shopping districts scattered between galleries and museums – there’s truly something to keep you occupied for every day of the year.
So, here’s my guide to the top spots that I discovered during my whirlwind tour here, I hope you find it useful/interesting!
Food & Drink:
The Original Crab Shack at Tybee Island – Make sure you head to the Atlantic coastline and check out this fantastic outdoor fish shack, complete with its own “Gator Lagoon” – this is the place “where the elite eat in their bare feet”, apparently. A waterside wooden-decked restaurant serving all kinds of freshly caught seafood and the best ribs I’d had during my entire trip to the States, if you like good food then this is a must. With a bin underneath the middle of the table for bones or shells and a sink with a salt scrub to wash off afterwards, this is a well-thought out place and it was packed during our midweek lunch stop. Although not technically in Florida anymore, I tried my first key lime pie and I was far from disappointed, WOW.
Wet Willies – This is the perfect pit stop for frozen cocktails whilst doing a spot of shopping in City Market. Savannah is one of only a handful of cities in the US that allows Al fresco drinking, so grab a beer or cocktail to go. Try a banana daiquiri for something a little different to cool you down!
Tubby’s Seafood Restaurant – Seeing as I was touring with the “Tubby family”, it seemed only right that we all dined at this waterside seafood venue for the evening. With great wines on offer and my first chance to try the local delicacy that had been on my mind for some time, the Shrimp & Grits were delicious and very filling indeed. We shared lots of different dishes & salads and I chose a grilled salmon packed full of flavour with collared greens. It might be wise to call ahead to book a table during peak times, or you may be in for a squeeze. A great riverside location!
Mabel’s Cupcake Emporium – I’d spotted this cute cupcake store on the first day and seeing as this was THE perfect place to try their traditional Red Velvet creations, well, it was rude not to, seeing as this is where Red Velvet came from… Not forgetting the apple & cinnamon macaron we nibbled too – yum!
Clary’s Cafe – Established in 1903 and famously appears in the film “In The Garden Of Good And Evil” with Kevin Spacey & John Cusack (Yep, we have since swotted up and watched this great “who dunnit?” film!) – If you like bacon, add a side of bacon – you won’t regret it! I tried something a little different – the Farmhouse Omelette – folded inside was apple, cinnamon…. and cheese. It was interesting…
Byrd’s Famous Cookies – You should know by now that I can’t pass up local sweet treats. This is the perfect place for the cutest souvenir tins filled with delicious sweet cookies… we enjoyed lots of sampling in their City Market store. Their ice cream cookie sandwiches looked epic, but alas, didn’t get to try on this occasion – next time!
The Olde Pink House – A fine restaurant if you’re looking for an extra special meal whilst staying in Savannah. I enjoyed the most beautiful & elegant take on “Shrimp & Grits” and a Hummingbird (Elderflower Fizz) cocktail to refresh me on a warm Spring evening. Apparently the haunted painting with eyes watch over you in their grand first floor dining room…
Six Pence Pub – Savannahs’ original authentic British pub in the heart of the historic district – we stopped here for “road beers” on the second evening, great little place with a red phone box outside – you couldn’t miss it!
J. Christopher’s – After a quick shower, once the gang had been rounded up, we headed out for a good and filling American breakfast on our last morning. The blueberry & granola pancakes were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G and having our coffee topped up after every swig, I HEART America.
Road Snacks – No road trip back to Florida is complete without stopping at an isolated gas station that looks like something from ‘The Walking Dead’, complete with guns for sale – eep. I love trying the new and exciting flavours of Oreos, as well as trying my very first ‘Nutter Butter’ biscuits and the different variations on Snickers to fuel our journey!
Be A Tourist:
Forsyth Park – The biggest of the handfuls of green and sprawling parks within Savannah, a 30-acre urban park is there for you to walk off some lunch and take in some early afternoon sunshine. It’s home to a stunning water fountain in the centre, a large child’s play area and an outdoor stage of which hosts concerts and events throughout the year. We were, however, advised to avoid this particular park at night, so we did.
Carriage & Tours of Savannah – Jacob was our guide, showing us the City by horse and carriage, he even pointed out where the famous “Forest Gump Bench” scene was filmed, much to our amusement as we had tried to hunt this out on foot earlier and had taken a group photo on the completely wrong spot within Chippewa Square – oops!
Chippewa Square – If you want to get your geek on, “Forest Gump” sat on the famous bench waiting for a bus with his box of chocolates in this beautiful park. That bench was something we searched for over a good hour or so, only to find out that it was in fact a prop and is now situated in the Savannah History Museum – should you fancy a visit!
Ellis Square Fountain – It was a rather hot week in April, nieces & nephews were sweating buckets after our tour, so there was simply nothing to lose, joining everybody else by leaping into and running through the fountains – literally the most fun of the day, for all of the kids – young and old!
Hearse Ghost Tours – A local brewery hosts a poltergeist, The Olde Pink House heard whispers in the night, many footsteps & voices echo around hallways and houses across one of the most haunted cities in the world (in the top 10 apparently) – we left a fine dining restaurant in the back of a hearse for a ghost tour of the city – seriously!
House Museums – If you like your history, there are many old & restored houses to look around, such as the Davenport House Museum, Andrew Low House, and the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low (the original Girl Scout founder).
Savannah Slow Ride – If you get a chance, take to the streets on this round “group” bicycle and enjoy pedaling around the City with drinks on the go. We wanted to try this out, but the kids with us were a little too young for this one.
A Run In The City – After all of our eating, a gentle run was in order, so Jordan & I headed out at the crack of dawn for a jog before breakfast. We were smiled at by fellow joggers as we crossed parkway paths & picturesque Georgian streets with the morning sun shining down on us. At one point a gentleman even doffed his Stetson and gave us a “howdy ladies” – swoon, my most favourite run. Ever.
We managed to fit in just over an hour of the city, crossing at least 5 different parks, many different streets to spot the cutest houses I’ve ever seen and even making it to the Wilmington River before heading back to our humble abode.
ShopSCAD – Savannah is well known for hosting a talented community of artists and SCAD is a collaborative force of creative individuals who showcase their art in exclusive galleries and sell their jewellery and home goods across the city – you must take a look, you’ll feel inspired just browsing.
Woof Gang Bakery – If you like to pamper your pooch, then this is the place for you – quirky dog accessories, pretty beds and blankets or some cute personalized dog biscuits to take home for Fido – sweet treats for dogs, so much fun!
Banana Republic – Yes, I know this is a chain and probably like saying head to “Next” for some great clothes and shoes, but this was my very first experience of this American store and I loved it. I left armed with beautiful tiny perfumes for my handbag and some gorgeous jewellery to remind me of a great time here.
Missing Pieces – ‘Poo Pourri’ is something that we all headed home with for our bathrooms after being told about this miracle toilet scent – it’s the name that tickled our funny bone first, but it works wonders, especially when in a new-ish relationship haha – a great little gift shop here.
City Market – This is a great place to enjoy not only a fun shopping experience, but there’s plenty to eat, drink and see too – this is a lively place to visit at day or night.
Our Victorian Mansion:
We hit the jackpot with our private house for our stay, this was a stunning mansion with plenty of rooms to explore and play hide-and-seek within, it was so much fun being with a huge group, kids and all – they loved exploring it as much as we did! My words couldn’t do this house with a gorgeous park view proud – just take a look for yourself within my photo album link below!
If You Get A Chance:
Head to the outskirts of the city to see the iconic “Bird Girl” statue, of which sits in Bonaventure Cemetery overlooking the Wilmington River – she appears in scenes from the film “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” with Kevin Spacey and Jude Law of which was recommended to us by new friends back in Florida. This Colonial park cemetery also harbours the remaining casualties of the ‘Yellow Fever’ from 1750.
Savannah is my new favourite happy place… The oldest city in Georgia and with it’s cobbled streets, relaxing green parks and old historic houses to nosey at on every street & corner, this is somewhere I desperately want to return to in the future to explore further – I’ve only just touched it.
Most importantly, I should add a very Happy Anniversary to the most lovely couple, the whole reason we were visiting this City and for the fantastic memories we shared – Joby & Jordan 4 Eva!
Make sure you peek into the nooks and crannies as you wander this exciting city – every alley and corner has a fascinating story to tell.
Want more? Take a look at my video of this stunning city here – enjoy!
See my full Facebook photo album for this stay here.
Read my new “About Me” page here!
Please note – I paid my way during this visit and I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience.
Any questions or to discuss a “Secret Stay” or review, please do email:firstname.lastname@example.org
All images © 2016 Miss Sue Flay, these may not be used or reproduced without written permission from the owner, many thanks in advance.