Southern charm. I had heard about it, but I have never quite experienced it until I walked the gorgeous cobblestone streets of Savannah, Georgia.
In Savannah, we stayed at the B-Historic - a quaint hotel located right downtown. How great to be able to park our car for the entire visit and explore the city on foot.
The first thing you'll notice about Savannah are the historic town squares. There is not just one beautiful square/park - as you find in many small Southern towns - but dozens of them, arranged like a grid throughout the historic section of the city. Central to each one is a monument honoring a person of significance. Juliette Gordon Low (founder of the Girl Scouts). John Wesley (co-founder of Methodism). Casimir Pulaski (the Polish war hero who we also love in Chicago). There are trees dripping with moss and park benches and fountains.
You can easily make your way on foot from one end of the district to the other. On the far side is the River with restaurants and shops and flag-draped riverboats offering tours. Walk a bit back into town you will hit Market Street - a central area with plenty of restaurants and bus tours - haunted ghosts and history along with trolley rides. Our group stopped to tour the Colonial Cemetery - where one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence is laid to rest.
Broad Street is filled with shops - plenty of high-end boutiques as well as the more artistic variety. I think that the art college has left its mark on the town. I also noted several cool restored movie theatres - one offered a James Bond film series. Milt was wishing he could stay and enjoy that one.
We ate our way through Savannah. We started each morning at the Gallery Espresso - an artsy little cafe offering teas, coffee, wine in the evenings, and freshly-made baked goods and salads. Sabrina and I also enjoyed peach lemonade with rosemary syrup at the Griffin - another SCAD coffee/tea house.
We visited the Scottish Pub for lunch which offered traditional pub fare plus Scotch eggs, Bangers-n-Mash, and Shepherd's Pie. My dinner order was the southern shrimp-n-grits. We tried to sneak in the back way to Mrs. Wilke's Dining Room - an establishment that was recently visited by President Obama. When the owner wouldn't let us in that way, we decided to skip the two-hour wait and visit another time.
On Market Street we visited a huge candy store and sampled pralines - still warm and sugary and packed with pecans. They offered us cookie tastings at Byrd's Famous Cookies - a Savannah staple since the 1920s. I brought home a bag of tiny, tangy peach cookies.
The food, the history, the architecture, the shopping. This is definitely the perfect city for a weekend destination. Beautiful, lovely Savannah. I plan to come back!