In the Garden of Good… & Better

We’ve heard nothing bad about Savannah, Georgia – it’s home to southern gentlemen, southern belles and deep fried southern food and, if the temperature drops below 50 degrees, I imagine the natives must buy a new wardrobe, or take the day off to avoid such intemperance. So we didn’t want to miss anything.

The morning was rainy, but like the locals, it was a polite rain that didn’t want to offend the city’s visitors. It got its life-bringing work done by noon allowing the sun to re-plaster the city with its shine. We started with an extremely reasonably -priced hour and a half trolley ride through the city. The open-air car gave us a grand vantage point of each of Savannah’s 22 squares. The driver, originally from Jersey, provided a wonderful overview of the history in spite of his thick “joisy” accent. He encouraged us to make our way around town by foot, reminding us that Savannah is known as one of the country’s most walkable cities. We marked places on our map to explore further.

This city is boastful, and rightfully so, about its amazing architecture. From the simple Federal Style Davenport House to the complicated Gothic Revival styling of the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist; and on to the Italianate style of the Mercer-Williams House. In fact, examples of most, if not all, of the nation’s 18th and 19th century prevailing architectural styles can be found in Savannah and a number of companies offer both driving and walking architectural tours.

Our first architectural stop was our quick visit inside the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The Gothic outside is beautiful but the inside is breathtaking, with bright blue ceilings laced in golden stars and walls lined with precise wood carvings of the life of Jesus. The cathedral is not only open to, but welcomes visitors all day.

We then got off our trolley at the City Market to walk the city back to our car in the Visitor Center. The City Market is a destination for shopping, dining and entertainment, and it’s a wonderful place to people watch, horse watch and, when you’re on a budget, even window shop for the holidays.

On the recommendation of our trolley guide, we decided to stop at the historic, and some say haunted, Pirate House Restaurant. Our guide told us that here, we would find good southern cooking without the long lines of the other more famous restaurants. We were seated immediately and decided to split a Catfish Po Boy and a cup of Okra Gumbo. We really wanted to try their southern fried chicken, fried okra and other goodies which sat on the renowned buffet, but at $14 per person it wasn’t in our budget. However, we weren’t disappointed as even half the catfish sandwich was delicious and filling. A wonderful recommendation. We love to go to off the beaten path away from the hordes of tourists.

Then we walked around visiting the many squares, many in the shade of the trees draped in the signature Spanish moss that to me, even more than the city’s people and architecture screams “southern charm.” Half way through our walk we stopped at an Irish Pub called Six Pence for a beer. The trolley guide mentioned that the city allows, even encourages you to carry alcoholic beverages down the street. We stuck it out inside the pub returning calls and speaking with friends before continuing on our way.

Many of the historic homes are open to the public for tours but since we were here for just one day decided to forgo them. But if you come for a weekend or week vacation, these may be worth viewing. We enjoyed our one day here and definitely plan to come back. For more information, click here.