The Mouth of the South: Scenic Savannah
In The Mouth of the South: Road-Tripping! I gave tips on roadtriping in the USA and we started our adventure stopping in the historical town of St. Augustine, Florida and then staying the night across the stateline in Georgia on Saint Simons Island.
I had truly entered the heart of the south and after tasting my first Po-Boy, I was ready to eat my way up the coast to become "the mouth of the south".
Next stop: Savannah, Georgia
Savannah was founded in 1733 by a Brit, making it the oldest city in the state of Georgia. The city was designed with beautifully manicured squares, perhaps a homage to General James Oglethorpe's London. However these scenic squares, there are currently 22 to be exact, are unique to Savannah due to the Spanish Moss draping over the oak-lined streets and the steamy southern temperatures.
A must is taking a light stroll in the hot heat to sit on a bench in one of these shady squares, perhaps while eating an ice cream from the very popular Leopold's Ice Cream which has been creating delicious flavor combinations since 1919. Of course the classics have continued to be served for almost hundred years but their seasonal favorites must be tried! I for one adored the flora notes of 'rose petal cream' and 'lavender'.
Tayah's Take: A great way to see many of the historical squares is to jump on the Savannah Old Town Trolley Tours, which essentially is like a hop-on-hop-off bus but a trolley. The light breeze that flows through the open trolley will be a welcome treat. Tickets are $32 for adults and $12.50 for kids, with small discounts if you buy ahead of time online.
The tour will take you all throughout the Historic District of Savannah, which is one of the main reasons visitors come back time and time again to see this beautiful city. The stunning architecture of the mansions that surround the many squares and streets had this daydreamer imagining living in 19th century Savannah waiting to be called on by her beau!
Regardless of if you are simply viewing these homes from the outside or decide to wander into one of the many open houses like Juliette Gordon Low's home- founder of Girl Scouts USA, to really experience the heart of Savannah and its past and present, you must head to the historic district.
If you are searching for even more greenery than the squares already provide, you can hop off the trolley to wander around one of the many open park spaces. I recommend meandering through the 30acres of Forsyth Park to see one of the most popular landmarks of Savannah: the fountain.
The best place to shop: The Savannah City Market. You know me, just the word 'market' and I'm sold. This shopping area has been around since the 1700's and has been touched by a number of disasters. Luckily Savannah has preserved the 4 block area which is now full of art galleries, restaurants, and chic boutiques.
Now lets get to eating. You can't really go wrong in Savannah, there are so many amazing places you can go for the desired southern cooking.
The best restaurant for ambiance: The Olde Pink House
The restaurant is set up all throughout the rooms of the only 18th century mansion so each person's dining experience is slightly different in decor and feel. But you can wander through each room and of course sip a Mint Julep down in the bar to explore the whole house! The food is delicious, southern classics with a slightly modern twist, locally caught seafood and a cheese board which is not to be missed!
Now it is believed to be haunted as the original owner hung himself in the house after being distraught over his wife's death so look out for strange happenings.
Tayah's Tip: If you are into the supernatural, Savannah is considered one of the most haunted cities in America and if you didn't get your fix by eating at this joint, why not take a ghostly tour? Our trolley also offers a Ghosts and Gravestones night tour but beware it is not for the faint of heart, and it's rated PG-13!
The Best Homely Cooking: To quote Miss Paula Dean "country cooking makes you good lookin" and Ms Dean, I believe you. I believe you so much that the apron that I bought for a nice sum of money in your shop reminds everyday. Now don't get me wrong, the restuarant will be crowded and the shop will tempt to win you over and succeed (obviously for me). But if you are a fan of all things butter then head on over to Lady and Sons.
There are some truly beautiful cemeteries in the world from Père-Lachaise in Paris to La Recoleta in Buenos Aires, and Savannah's Bonaventure is one of them. Whether you decide to wander through the pathways on your own (no fee) or book onto a guided tour, to behold the 'southern gothic' and experience the gateway to the south's past, head to cemetery.
Tayah's Tip: make sure you head into the visitors centre. They are extremely helpful inside and will give you a map of the area and point out prominent tombstones and notable burials such as the singer/songwriter Johnny Mercer.
To finish off your day, River Street is where you want to head to watch “the ships sail in and watch them sail away again”. Be sure to have a stroll at dusk down the cobble stone street before hitting up one of the many bars that overlook the river. The one I went to rang a bell every time a ship went by to ask the guests to take a shot, so you can get a little wild too if you’d like, this is the home to SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) after all!
Paula Dean's tagline is "y'all come back now" and I will definitely be heading back to this city someday. Savannah celebrates its rich American history but is filled with a hip, artistic community. The food is delicious, the architecture is stunning, and the natural surroundings are beautiful. It is an American destination not to be missed. Savannah most certainly put the zip-a-dee into my doo-daa day.
Next stop on my The Mouth of the South tour is Charleston!