You will notice the Spanish moss first. Drive into the heart of this lovely Southern city and you might catch glimpses of the busy Savannah River, the fantastically gorgeous, sprawling historic homes or the lovely, park-like squares scattered throughout the city but it’s the Spanish moss that tells you that you have truly arrived in Savannah. Draped over the soaring live oak trees, the beautiful but subtly creepy moss is truly a symbol of the city.
Where to Stay in Savannah
With plenty of lovely places to stay, it will be difficult to choose but, as far as I’m concerned, you can never go wrong with a hotel that has a view of the water. This is definitely the case with the fabulous River Street Inn, a historic five-story hotel which wraps around an incredible central atrium and has huge, lovely rooms. Pick one of the harbor view rooms and you may find yourself dreamily watching the many boats pass by on this busy river. Don’t get too dreamy because you are going to want to spend some time strolling right outside the hotel to the many shops that line River Street. Paved with ballast stones which were transported in the holds of ships bound for Savannah and the cotton bales that waited there a hundred years ago, the stones were thrown overboard and the thrifty settlers used them for the streets. Interesting to think what stories some of those stones could tell!
Girlfriend Getaway in Savannah? Where to Go and What to Do!
Pop in Spanky’s for a lunch or dinner comprised of some locally caught shrimp – I recommend the grilled shrimp quesadilla – and then be sure to make a stop at Savannah’s Candy Kitchen for a sample of that delicious Southern delicacy, pralines. More than likely, you will find yourself buying a box or two to take home. Be sure to check out the shop Fabulous Finds Under $20 – I found a couple of beautiful pashminas there. You must plan to spend some time at the River Street Marketplace as well. It’s an open-air market with lots of vendors who have all kind of lovely and interesting things like homemade jewelry and kitschy, one-of-a-kind things that make great presents. I found a darling salt and pepper shaker shaped like little elephants for a friend.
When you are ready to see the rest of the city, there are a couple of trolley companies which offer comprehensive city tours. I like Old Town Trolley because the tours are narrated live, not recorded and you can hop on and off as much as you want. You will definitely want to hop off and tour some of the historical homes on your own, such as Juliet Gordon Low’s birthplace. As Savannah is considered to be one of the most haunted cities in the south, tours of the haunted homes and cemeteries are also a popular choice. There are more than 100 distinct neighborhoods in Savannah but the most popular tours will all cover the downtown area, which will include the Landmark Historic District and Victorian District. Savannah’s historic district has 22 squares, which are basically lovely little parks surrounded by gorgeous homes. Each square is different and varies in size, personality and formality.
If you are in the mood for a more adventurous tour, check out the Segway of Savannah tours. We had an absolute blast touring on these fun, wheeled transportation vehicles. Don’t be nervous; they will show you a training video and then give you plenty of time to practice before you begin the tour. It’s really very easy once you get the hang of it – and so much fun!
After your tour, stop at the City Market for even more shopping. There are often activities and events going on at City Market, so be sure to check the web site before you visit. When you are ready for a break from strolling and shopping, have lunch or dinner at Belford’s of Savannah. The food is wonderful – try the Beer Battered Fish Sandwich which is a parmesan beer battered fish filet served on a French baquette – I guarantee you will love it!
Savannah has a humid, subtropical climate so, if you choose to visit in the summer, dress lightly, drink plenty of water and take breaks on some of the breezy restaurant patios for a glass of sweet and cold southern iced tea. The brick patio at Belford’s with the overhead fans lazily turning is the perfect place for this. It’s great for dining and also for people watching.
If you find yourself a little too overheated in Savannah, just hop in your car and take a drive to beautiful little Tybee Island, a quiet barrier island often called “Savannah’s Beach” as it is only about a 15-20 minute drive from Savannah. Enjoy the wide, smooth beaches – smooth enough to rent a bike and ride on – or have lunch in one of the local and delicious seafood restaurants like Coco’s Sunset Grill. If you make it to Coco’s, order the locally caught seafood and the fried strawberries – unique and delicious, they may be the best dessert you have ever tasted!
Head back to Savannah for a little relaxation in the afternoon, then plan on dinner at The Pirate House, a fascinating and fun place to eat with great food. When the restaurant was first established in the early 1700′s as an inn for sailors, many an unfortunate grog-drinker found themselves knocked out, dragged through the tunnel hidden in the restaurant, and shanghaied into service on one of the many sailing ships in the harbor.
Heavenly Savannah Spa Day
Now that you have seen the city, shopped and eaten more great meals than you can count, it’s time for a relaxing spa day. The Poseidon Spa at the Mansion on Forsythe Park is an absolutely fabulous choice for a place to spend the day. Beautifully and quietly elegant with a wonderful staff, this is one of the nicest spas I have ever visited. We had marvelous massages but they also offer an array of spa treatments and packages. I suggest a day of massages, facials, wraps, mani/pedis, and then dinner at the Mansion. I can’t imagine a lovelier day!
Savannah may very well capture your heart as it does for many visitors; anyone who has been to Savannah loves it. You may find yourself planning your next girls trip to this lovely jewel of a Southern city before you have even left!
Jan Ross is a freelance travel writer who has been traveling the world since way back before she can even remember. Her dad was in the Marine Corps so she is used to packing up at a moment’s notice! She loves writing hotel and restaurant reviews since it means she gets to stay in fabulous places and eat wonderful food. She especially loves writing spa reviews because that means she gets phenomenally pampered and, seriously, who does not like that? She has visited lots of places but still gets a thrill of excitement when she boards a plane, steps into a new hotel room, or sees a new location for the first time. And she hopes that thrill never, ever goes away.
For more information on Jan, visit her website at WanderlustWonder.com.