Sweet Southern Charm

Savannah, Ga. Is A Food Lover’s Paradise

River Street in downtown Savannah.

With everyone sharing their online photos of spring break retreats, I’m feeling anxious to head out on my next adventure. Until then, I will reminisce about a fun trip I took down south with some friends to Savannah, Ga. Is it bad that I’m already pronouncing the place in my head with a deep southern drawl, y’all?

We stayed along the beach in Tybee Island, just 20 minutes from Savannah’s historic district. Waking up every morning to the sound of the waves crashing and the warmth of the glowing sun was exuberating. I think everyone should experience that sensation from time to time just to allow themselves an escape from the daily grind at home that awaits.

I quickly discovered that Savannah is a food lover’s paradise. Our first stop was The Pirates’ House. Built in 1753 as an inn for sailors, it now serves as a family restaurant offering Southern staples like shrimp gumbo, fried green tomatoes, and po’boys. Any buccaneer would be delighted by their menu along with the entertaining atmosphere the pirates and wenches waitstaff bring to the table.

Wandering through the heart of Savannah into the Historic District is a perfect way to walk off a bowl of gumbo and take in the Southern charm of the city. The streets are lined in cobblestone with luscious gardens throughout. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll through Forsyth Park where I found myself standing in awe of the Oak trees draped in Spanish Moss cascading from above, leading to the iconic Forsyth Park Fountain. Inspired by French architecture, the city developed the fountain over 150 years ago to stand as a centerpiece for the elite to enjoy and it still stands today, misting passers-by as they try to cool off from the sweltering sun.

We couldn’t forget a stop at Chippewa Square known for the famous park bench scene from a little movie you might have heard of called “Forrest Gump.” The original bench is now in the Savannah History Museum, but seeing the statue of General James Oglethorpe, founder of Savannah, in the background transformed me back to the iconic film, expecting Forrest to appear with a box of chocolates.

The hearse from the ghost tour.

On the way back to the beach, we stopped at a local fruit stand, so I could see what the hype was about regarding this state’s official fruit, the Georgia Peach. It was quite juicy, and a refreshing mid-afternoon snack when all I planned on consuming this trip were loads of seafood and fried everything.

Heading back to the condo to watch the sunset over the ocean from our balcony was breathtaking. Once the sun went down, we decided to hop on a Hearse Ghost Tour and see if the spirits of the south would make an appearance. I never thought I’d live to see the day I’d be escorted in a hearse, but I’m sure I’ve done crazier things before. The tour was a bit hokey, but it was fun to ride around Savannah at night and hear about the history of the town. Our guide killed it. No pun intended.

The next day we all worked on our tans and relaxed along the beach until it was time to stuff our faces again with more comfort food. What better place to do that then Paula Deen’s restaurant, The Lady and Sons? We gorged ourselves on Paula’s Southern Buffet. My favorite was the fried chicken and collard greens, which I washed down with a hefty sized mason jar full of fresh brewed Luzianne iced tea. If any of you are familiar with Paula Deen, her cooking shows always called for “a whole stick of butter, y’all” and after that meal, Melinda was calling for “a whole lot of antacid for her food baby, y’all”.

When the trip came to an end, I was looking for a fun souvenir to take home and knew the perfect place to find it. We headed down to Savannah’s River Street, lined with old cotton warehouses, these buildings now encase eclectic boutiques, art galleries, pubs, and dozens of southern style restaurants. Ferry boats and cargo ships cruise along the river and trolleys still run through the street, now part of the downtown tour experience.

The sweet smell of glazed pecans poured out of River Street Sweets, while street performers danced and entertained for spare change. Everywhere you turn, you’re greeted with the friendly southern hospitality you’d expect in a quaint town such as this.

I realized the best souvenir I could take from this trip wasn’t anything I could purchase in some shop along the street. I had just made dozens of new memories and experiences that I could take back home with me and escape to whenever I was missing the warmth of the south, and that’s what getting away is all about.

“The best things in life are the people you love, the places you’ve been, and the memories you’ve made along the way.”