This past February, Tim and I took a two-day trip to Savannah for my golden birthday. It was the first time I've been since I was really little (which is kind of crazy considering how close it is!). We had so much fun and were happy to discover a very refreshing, independent spirit oozing through the tree-lined, bicycle-laden streets of this charming, southern, walkable city.
I came back so inspired I thought I'd share some of our favorite experiences in guide format for anyone who might be looking for a short, sweet getaway!
We stayed at the Andaz Hotel on Barnard street. It's actually our second time staying at one of these hotels (we stayed at the Andaz Napa on our honeymoon) and we really, really love them. They serve local, organic food in their restaurants (including fresh pressed juices!), have impeccable interior design and construct their buildings in urban/walkable areas.
We drove up after a 1/2 day at work, so when we finished checking in to the hotel, we walked to Leoci's Trattoria for dinner. Some of the best Italian I've had in a long time! Afterward, we took a pedi-cab back to the hotel.
We started our first morning (my birthday!) off with breakfast at the Coffee Fox, followed by a hike to the "Downtown Design District". A visit to Circa Lighting was a must since we still need exterior lights for the house. They had a great selection, including a stockpile of clearance items across the street in an old, converted gas station.
Once we finished scouting the interior shops (you can see a full list, here), we looped around to the main SCAD building, Poetter Hall, and got some maps and info so we could take a campus tour. Tim and I are both really passionate about architecture, urbanism and adaptive reuse (and SCAD has done an amazing job revitalizing the city) so we were very excited to tour their campus/buildings. Before the tour, we stopped by the SCAD store (where student and alumni created art and goods are sold), then ventured across the street to their cafe (housed in an old pharmacy), the Gryphon Tea Room for lunch.
After lunch we toured the SCAD buildings, favorites include the Jen Library, housed in a former department store; the Student Center, in an old synagogue; and Bradley Hall, a former U.S. Marine hospital. They've done so many other great restoration projects, and I'm such a sucker for history and preservation, I could go on and on, but you'd probably get bored!
For dinner that night we planned on going to Local 11 Ten (which is incredible, I hear), but somehow ended up at the The Public instead (equally incredible, I presume). Afterward we had birthday ice cream at the infamous Leopold's!
We were scheduled to leave late in the afternoon on Day 2, so the morning began with packing, eating breakfast at the hotel restaurant and checking out. Once we finished all that, we headed back into the city, on a self-guided historical tour. We walked through City Market, ventured into City Hall and trekked along the old streetcar line by the river (old streetcar walks always make me a little sad!). Then we visited ALL 22 squares, eventually making our way through to Forsyth Park. We were starving by the time we got to the end, so we went straight into Brighter Days' to grab fresh juices and sandwiches for an impromptu picnic by the fountain.
After lunch we headed north, back to the hotel where our car was parked. Along the way we stopped at few really awesome independent shops. Fabrika, hands down the most darling fabric store I've ever been to. Sylvester and Co., a contemporary style general store that offers artisan home goods and interior design services. And lastly, my personal fave, reCREATE, an art gallery/creative incubator of sorts that sells handmade jewlery, clothing, home goods and art crafted by locals.
Savannah was different from any other city I've been to in the south. We went for a quick getaway, and came back so inspired and refreshed! If you love architecture, urban planning, the arts, or just walkable cities in general, a visit to Savannah is a must.
Photos and guide picks by me, Mary Stonecypher Maslow. See my beach birthday party from a couple years back, here!