My guide to Savannah, Ga.

16 Jun

I was obviously out all last week – guess you noticed the lack of newsy updates and instead long posts about my favorite things.

So where was I last week? My version of heaven on earth: Savannah, Ga.

I’ve written about it before in some columns for th Journal, but never much here on the blog. Usually when I do write about it, I get some calls and e-mails from folks asking about the best places to go there. So, here are a few places/experiences I say you must see or have in Savannah.

The Lawton family plot at Bonaventure

The Lawton family plot at Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah
Photo by Sheena Barnett

  • The Pirates House Restaurant
    Don’t get me wrong, I love Paula Deen, but the Pirates House food is better. There, I said it. It’s just true. Their award-winning fried chicken with honey pecan glaze is amazing. I don’t even like fried chicken that much, but dude, that’s the kind of food that makes you slap your mama away from the table.
    Also good – their HUGE fried green tomatoes and spring rolls. The rolls have barbecue pork and collard greens, and you dip them in a mix of barbecue and mustard sauces. To. die. for.
    As added bonuses: Some of it is the oldest structure in Georgia, it inspired “Treasure Island,” it’s haunted, and once I had a super-nice server named Eli who gave us a history of the place.
    One downside: This year they’ve added in actors who dress up as pirates to stalk the restaurant and play with kids who visit. From what I could tell, most of the kids either just didn’t care or were creeped out by them. I hate it that they’ve added this kind of tacky gimmick, but oh well, whatever floats their boat.
    On Paula Deen: OK. Paula’s Lady & Sons Restaurant isn’t on this list as a place to go in Savannah, mostly because you basically can’t. Before 11 a.m. rolls around, they’re already booked for lunch, so people start lining up at 11 a.m. to get a table for supper. I’m not kidding. A tour group has started a Paula Deen tour, which includes lunch, and I think you pretty well have to go on the tour to get in. I don’t know about y’all, but I’m not OK with that. Sure, her food is good, but nowhere near as good as Pirates House.
  • Clary’s Cafe
    Yuuummm…Clary’s. Such a great place to grab breakfast and enjoy the atmosphere. Love it here. Try the peach or apple blossom or their HUGE waffle.
  • Six Pence Pub
    Get the BLT. It’s possibly the best BLT in the entire world.
  • The Mercer Williams House
    Yes, this is Jim Williams’ house, and this is where the infamous murder detailed in “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” took place. But don’t go just for that – let your eyes soak up Williams’ amazing garden, his gorgeous antiques and the architecture of the home. We’ve toured this home several times and it’s always a beauty.
  • Take a tour in a hearse
    There are seemingly hundreds of ghost tours in Savannah. Each one has their own advantages and stories, but this one is still my favorite: Hearse Tours. You ride around in the back of a hearse and the driver takes you all around Savannah, telling you spooky tales (which may or may not be true, but whatever, you’re in a hearse!). You take a tour through a cemetery, scream at people walking on the sidewalk (they jump so high; it’s hilarious), and hear bad puns like, “Johnny Mercer was a wonderful composer, he was born in Savannah…now he lies in Bonaventure Cemetery where he does a lot of DEcomposing.” Ha ha.
  • Bonvaventure Cemetery and Colonial Park Cemetery
    You can literally spend hours in either of these cemeteries — they’re full of fascinating people and tombstones.
    They say it’s better to be dead and buried in Bonaventure than to be alive and living anywhere else in the world. It’s really that gorgeous. Notables like Johnny Mercer and Conrad Aiken are buried there, as well as sweet little Gracie — who you’ll just have to see to believe.
    Colonial Park Cemetery was Savannah’s cemetery from the 1750s to the 1850s, so there are lots of old plots there. When Union soldiers used the cemetery as a camp site during the Civil War, a lot of the soldiers changed dates and ages on the tombstones or used them as target practice. It’s hilarious to see some of the changes they made. It’s fascinating.
    Here’s a photo I took two years ago of a tombstone the soldiers really messed up. Check the folks’ death years and ages:
  • Owens-Thomas House
    This house has some amazing architecture, and it’s gorgeous. Also home to the most haint blue paint, back in the slave quarters. Quite a sight to see.
  • Savannah’s Candy Kitchen
    An even more heavenly place in heaven. Try their gophers; they’re soo delicious. I’m also sweet on their taffy and candied apples.
    There are two Candy Kitchen locations, but I prefer the one on River Street. Be sure to visit down there – sure, there are lots of tourist-y kinds of stores, but there are some cool restaurants too.
  • Broughton St.
    Broughton St. in Savannah is where a lot of shops are, like Marc by Marc Jacobs, Banana Republic, Birkenstock, Satchel and more. The Savannah Bee Co. is opening up a store on that street soon, and they’ve got some great products.
  • Murder Afloat
    Our last night in Savannah, my mom and I were a part of Murder Afloat, a murder mystery cruise, which took place on the Savannah River Queen. We didn’t pick the right murderer, but still, we had a blast.

If I can think of anywhere else to go, I’ll let y’all know. Til then…

3 Responses to “My guide to Savannah, Ga.”

  1. skaufman244 June 20, 2008 at 6:13 pm #

    I gotta agree.. Savannah has been my favorite place city since I first layed eyes on it. I get back there every chance I get and really hope to live there some day.

    Small town charm with big city sophistication – – and you can live there and not own a car. I can spend a whole day wandering those beautiful streets or reading a book in one of wonderful squares, and never spend a dime.

    God you got me wanting to go back now!

  2. Gina June 27, 2008 at 11:46 pm #

    I just got back from 8 glorious days in Savannah & am already longing to go back. I absolutely fell in love with the city & the surrounding area 2 years ago & have returned there at least 8 times since.

    The people are so friendly & you really do feel welcome no matter where you go. I’ve been very fortunate to make some wonderful friends there & have every intention of moving there someday.

    Going to Paula Deen’s restaurant was my main reason for visiting Savannah, but once I got there-this amazing place so full of history & sweet southern charm just grabbed onto me & hasn’t let me go yet. I hope it never does.

    If there truly is such a place as ‘heaven on earth’-without a doubt Savannah is it.

  3. sheenabarnett June 29, 2008 at 11:34 am #

    Savannah is definitely unlike any other place I’ve ever visited. All that history, plus the “southern hospitality” and — best of all — the food! I’m hoping to make a trip back soon and I do hope to move there one day.

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