Weekend in Savannah

6 April 2015

The first and (until this weekend) last weekend we visited Savannah, I had a major attack of seasonal allergies, limped around on a bleeding foot, and scratched my cornea. John had a blood sugar crash. Needless to say, we owed this Southern city another shot, and finally, six years later, we returned!

Savannah is about a 5.5 hour drive from our home in NC, which means it is a long but doable weekend road trip. We set off early on Friday morning, and after hitting some traffic, arrived around 2pm. Our first stop was Gryphon Tea Room. It’s a restaurant run by SCAD in an old pharmacy, with original Tiffany glass panes and furnishings. It was beautiful and felt like a library! Our table was up on a podium, with really comfortable velvet chairs. The leopard carpet was a nice touch :)

gryphon-tea-room

The food was good; the service was quirky (SCAD students!). The highlight was our drinks – blackberry pomegranate lemonade and peach rosemary lemonade. After lunch we started wandering in the direction of Forsyth Park, pausing in several squares and oohing and ahhing over many houses. One of my favorite activities!

secret-garden-savannah

forsyth-park

savannah-house

The weather was perfect – low 80’s, sunny, with a light breeze and lots of shade from oaks and Spanish moss.

oaks-in-savannah

grand-savannah-homes

spirea-in-savannah

Savannah and Charleston get compared a lot, but to me, they seem very different. Savannah is darker and a bit more Gothic, with lots of wrought iron and Spanish moss — more similar to what I’ve heard and seen of New Orleans. Charleston is preppier and brighter.

After popping into several shops (Fest, Number Four Eleven, One Fish Two Fish, Sylvester & Co General Store), we jumped back in our car and drove 15 minutes outside of Savannah to McQueen’s Island Trail. Our quick run along the Savannah River was lined with palms and and came complete with a marsh view! Highly recommended for stretching your legs.

mcqueens-island-trail

After checking into our hotel for the night (the Andaz on the waterfront – we got a good rate on Priceline and were very pleased with it!), we walked over to Chippewa Square for a Good Friday service at First Baptist. Then, we walked back to the waterfront and settled in for dinner at Treylor Park. It was lovely to stroll from spot to spot!

savannah-waterfront

We did have trouble deciding where to eat – restaurants we researched seemed either old-school fancy and too expensive or not enough of an experience for dinner. Treylor Park’s menu looked intriguing, so we decided to give it a go! We started with the PB&J Chicken Wings (tossed in a peanut/pecan butter and served with a peach jelly sauce) and the Pigs in a Biscuit Blanket (artisan sausages nestled in biscuit blankets with spicy mustard). We loved both concepts and they were also delicious. For our entrees we went more traditional – a burger and a BLT. Sadly, the execution was pretty average on both. One other note – the noise level was high, since the tables and bar area are one and the same.

We considered going to Leopold’s for ice cream, but headed back to the hotel when we saw how long the line was – it was probably 100 people deep!

paris-market

On Saturday morning we had a quick breakfast at Goose Feathers Cafe, then hit up a few more spots before heading out of town. One was The Paris Market, probably the most famous shop in Savannah. We both loved it! It was one of those beautifully curated stores that is inspiring to just walk through, even if most of the goods were too expensive for us.

the-paris-market

Our final stop in the Savannah area was the free Savannah National Wildlife Refuge. You can drive through it on a beautiful four-mile track surrounded by marshlands. We saw all sorts of water birds, turtles, and, oh yes, 28 alligators!!!

savannah-marsh

savannah-national-wildlife-refuge

savannah-alligator

We had some beautiful weather in Savannah and loved getting away – but as a final review, 9 times out of 10 I would choose to visit Charleston. In my experience, it has a little less of a party vibe (feels a bit more refined), the food is better, and it’s an hour closer to our house. If any of y’all have visited both cities, I’d love to hear your thoughts and preferences!

Saturday night was spent in Beaufort, SC – report coming up next!

9 Responses to “Weekend in Savannah”

  1. My husband and I visited Savannah for the first time last summer after visiting Charleston regularly. (It’s a quick weekend trip from Charlotte, where we lived at the time) I have to say I agree with you. Charleston has a special place in my heart. Though I enjoyed Savannah, it just wasn’t the same. That bias may also be because we got engaged in Charleston!

  2. Personally, I prefer Savannah. I think perhaps because the old part of the city and the new is more separated whereas with Charleston the old and new seems more integrated. I like going to Savannah and feeling like I’m kind of stepping back in time. Next time you go, you have to try the Olde Pink House. It’s a little pricey, but the food and the service are the best I’ve ever experienced.

  3. Such an amazing looking trip! Everything looks so lovely and vibrant right now… unlike all of Maine at the moment! Thanks for sharing these memories with us, Em!

  4. I think we’ve decided to for sure make our summer 2015 a Southern road trip! Savannah is on our list of spots so this post was extremely helpful! #teamcharleston ;)

  5. Rob

    My one trip to Savannah was over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and the city has the second biggest celebration after NYC, they say — so it wasn’t exactly a representative visit. You took some beautiful photos — thanks for sharing.

  6. I totally agree with your comparison of Charleston and Savannah. Charleston is so much brighter. I love them both for different reasons.

  7. Love this! My sister’s planning my bachelorette party in Savannah in October, and it will be my first visit. I’ll be saving this post for reference! Glad this trip was better than your last.

  8. Em

    @Allie I think Savannah would make a GREAT bachelorette location!

  9. Kayla

    I’m glad you had great weather during your weekend trip! I had always heard how beautiful Savannah was and I really wanted to see the Spanish moss so I convinced my husband to go for a weekend. We found a hotel on Priceline as well but we had terrible luck with the weather! It was super rainy and we found Savannah to be VERY crowded. I did really enjoy the architecture and beautiful foliage everywhere and the cute little shops! We ate at Paula Dean’s restaurant and it was a highlight of our trip. I have been wanting to go to Charleston, too, and I’m glad you said you like Charleston better! Now I don’t feel as bad asking my husband to go to a “similar” place with basically the same results. And I’ll definitely check the weather ;)