As I mentioned in my last post, Vikram and I spent last weekend in Savannah, GA to celebrate our first wedding anniversary! If you’re not familiar with Savannah, it’s a coastal city in northern Georgia that’s known for its history and charm. It’s the perfect place to escape with your special someone. We had such a blast, so I wanted to share our experience. Perhaps it will come in handy if you ever visit Savannah!
We arrived in Savannah relatively late on Friday night and were wiped from our drive, so we decided to grab a quick bite and hit the hay. Vikram is pure veg and I am slowly but surely making my way there, so we went to Green Truck Neighborhood Pub. They had the laid-back atmosphere you’d expect from a neighborhood pub, and a decent amount of vegetarian options including their Chili Non-Carne (lol) and any of their burgers that could be substituted for a tofu burger. We both opted for burgers (Rustico for me and Flathead for him) and were not disappointed – they packed a punch of flavor that makes my mouth water just thinking about it. As someone who used to love the occasional burger before marrying a Hindu, Green Truck totally satisfied my craving for that elusive quarter-pounder.
After dinner it was off to bed 🙂
There are four main tourist areas in Savannah, and we went to all of them on Saturday.
We woke up early(ish) and headed for Old Town – a historic district with stunning architecture and greenery. The area is centered around park squares filled with Spanish moss-covered oaks and historic statues, while ancient antique row houses create a hauntingly beautiful backdrop. Horse-drawn carriages and old fashioned trolley-style buses fill the streets. This combination creates the illusion that the city has been around forever, and leaves you feeling like you’ve stepped back in time. This is where we fell in love with Savannah.
We stopped into the Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) Admissions building, which could’ve easily doubled as a small museum. It was exactly as quirky and fun as you’d expect from a renowned art school. Afterwards, we stopped in to the SCAD store next door, which features work from alumni.
The woman from the SCAD Admissions Department told us that there was a large chalk art contest for students and alumni happening that day, so we made our way to nearby Forsyth Park to have a look. We were greeted by large, genial crowds and hundreds of artists expressing themselves with chalk and a sidewalk square.
SCAD had also set up a display in the park called Les Tableaux Vivants, which is French for “the living pictures”. I thought it might be some combination of pictures and video, but it turned out to be much more literal than that – theater students had recreated famous artworks with their bodies! The actors sat (or stood, or laid) silently and perfectly still. I wondered how their muscles didn’t cramp, until I saw replacements arrive as the artists reanimated and crawled from their “frames”.
After exploring the park, we decided it was time to grab some lunch and explore more of the city. We drove around for what seemed like an eternity, but finally managed to snag a parking spot right in the heart of Downtown Savannah and across the street from our target restaurant: Flying Monk Noodle Bar, voted “Best Noodles in Savannah”. The noodles were fantastic and filling – each of us took nearly half of our meals back to the hotel. I would recommend splitting an entree if you check this place out. I also demand you to get the coconut water which is to die for – it’s full of fresh coconut bits and is a life saver in the mid-day heat!
After lunch, we moseyed our way to Leopold’s Ice Cream, which has been around for nearly 100 years and is the birthplace of Tutti Frutti ice cream. We waited in line for over 45 minutes in the midday sun (I’m shocked I didn’t get a nasty burn), but it was worth it! The ice cream was unbelievably creamy, and the Tutti Frutti was just like they said – “like fruitcake, but better!”
We meandered around Broughton Street and popped into many of its charming shops. We stopped at another of our target destinations on that street: the Savannah Bee Company. For those of you that don’t know, Vikram and I are notorious for calling each other “honey” all the time, most notably as “huh-NEEEE”. Because of this (and because we actually love honey), we knew we couldn’t miss this Savannah staple. The company produces all types of honey and honey-based products, and has a strong mantra of “Save the Bees”. They had a honey bar, where we were able to sample their entire line of honeys – from traditional to habanero to rosemary-infused and bee-yond (sorry). We also participated in a mead tasting! (Mead is a drink made of fermented honey and combined with various other ingredients for flavor.)
From Savannah Bee Company, we were directed to check out Adam Turoni‘s chocolate shop down the street. They told us that he is one of the top ten chocolatiers in North America, so we practically ran there. I wish I could describe what “top ten best chocolate in North America” tastes like, but it’s something that has to be experienced. You might ask, “can you really even tell the difference from regular chocolate?” Yes. 100% yes.
We meandered some more, then made our way to the car and headed to River Street. There were a few cute local shops in the buildings above River Street, but the area itself was somewhat of a tourist trap: souvenir shops, candy and nut stores, and restaurants galore. Since most of the restaurants were heavy on seafood, we didn’t really find much for us in this location. In addition, the river view was nothing impressive. This is one place you should probably see, but don’t budget too much time.
After leaving River Street, we took a 30-minute drive to Tybee Island to watch the sun set at the beach. The drive to the island was beautiful, and if you don’t plan to stay until sunset, at least try and drive back at that time to watch the sky changing over the vast marshes.
Tybee Island Beach was very calm, with shell-filled sand. We had a great time wading around and enjoying the seclusion. The one downside was the abundance of biting midges, also known as no-see-ums. They are tiny, tiny bugs whose bite is far too strong for their size. Articles said their bites are supposed to itch afterwards, but we didn’t really experience that. I would recommend bringing some type of bug spray before going to this beach.
On the way back, we stopped at Publix (Vikram’s first time!) and picked up some snacks. We made our way back to the hotel, ate our leftovers from lunch, and passed out from our exhausting day.
On Sunday morning we checked out of our hotel and headed for Wormsloe Historic Site. If that’s not ringing a bell, think of the long tunnel of oak trees that everyone associates with Savannah – that’s Wormsloe.
At least, it’s the entrance to Wormsloe. Past the oaks is a historical site with ruins, beautiful views, coastal flora, and a historical reenactment of what life was like when the Wormsloe property was founded. We entered the historical part, which cost us a small admission fee.
While we learned quite a bit (the long oak drive was planted in celebration of the birth of a baby boy in the 1800s – who knew!) this is probably something I would recommend skipping if you are short on time. You can drive along the oaks for no fee at all – this is something you cannot miss, if only for the photo opportunity 🙂
After Wormsloe, we took an hour-long drive to Hilton Head, SC. Travelers be warned: both entering and exiting the island, you will need to pay a $1.25 toll in cash only. We learned the hard way, and had to mail a money order within 5 business days or we’d be fined $12.00. That’s right: they don’t accept cards, they don’t have a website, and they won’t accept a personal check. UGH.
We parked near Coligny Beach, which is said to be the most popular beach on Hilton Head. The beach was the opposite of Tybee Island – sunny, soft powdery sand, and crowded. We walked around the various beach shops filled with colorful towels and toys, stylish beach apparel, and ice cream. We were only there briefly, but promised ourselves that we would be back sometime soon.
We walked to Aunt Chilada’s (enchiladas – get it?), which was only a few blocks away from the beach. We were disappointed at the lack of vegetarian options and lack of flexibility to make substitutions, but we were pleasantly surprised by their Famous Street Corn, which were short cobs topped with chili aioli, lime, and queso fresco. I plan on attempting these at home sometime this summer 🙂
After lunch, we walked back to the car and started our long trek home. This was definitely a vacation to remember, and hopefully one to revisit soon!
Have you been to Savannah? Did we miss anything? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!