Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Destination: Savannah, Georgia

“Are you interested in purchasing that house?” He said to Gman and I as we stood tiptoed peering into the windows of a brick-faced two story townhouse. It had a wraparound porch that was covered with intricately curving rod iron gates. The man startled us from our daydream. “No, we’re just looking,” we replied. “Oh, well I know the owners and they are very interested in sellin’ it.” He continued as we strolled with him and his dog down the brick-paved sidewalk. What are we doing? I thought to myself. Why are we talking to this random stranger? It went against my instincts, but something about his demeanor lead us to continue our conversation. He was so unguarded and genuinely interested in chatting with us while his dog sniffed around the planters by our feet.

“I live here in this house with my wife." He pointed to one in a few doors down. "Twenty years ago we were livin’ in the city. We both had prominent jobs and lived in a shoe-box apartment. We came to Savannah on vacation and decided we must stay. Savannah offered us the lifestyle we always dreamed of – we could still take advantage of city perks like walking to restaurants, shopping, and entertainment, yet we could enjoy the slow pace of a small town. Because of the art school [Savannah School of Art and Design] this otherwise sleepy Southern town is always fresh and youthful. So we bought this house and have been fixini it up ever since. We found jobs that we can walk to and meet friends for brunch on the weekends...”

As he talked my mind started wandering, he was describing a life I once dreamed about - and still do from time to time. How nice it would be to have the best of both the country and the city, to have a relaxed pace but still make a living, or to have a house but also walk to the store. How exciting to go on vacation and then become so inspired that you make a choice like that and change your life!

Gman asked him questions here and there, and I just smiled and nodded. We greeted the other neighbors as they walked by, some even stopped to briefly catch up. Then we changed our mind from “just looking” and said, “We do like the house, but it’s out of our budget.” He smiled. I half expected our new friend to invite us in for coffee and biscuits, but we said our good-byes and thanked him for his time.

It was in that moment I was hooked on Savannah.

Our friends were waiting for us and we hurried to meet up with them then continued our explorations. We came here with the same couple years before, and stayed in the same Bed & Breakfast, the Eliza Thompson House. What makes Savannah unique is a mix of historic Southern town, college party town, and a healthy dose of hospitality. Each time we come here our goal is to recharge our batteries.

For this trip, Gman and I drove into town after spending two weeks down in Florida visiting family and friends. While it was incredible to spend that much time with our families, as neither of us has had that much time off in years. But when you are on an emotional high for two weeks, constantly being stimulated with stories and visits and activities, then eating and drinking whatever is put in front of you, you realize you’re tired once you sit down and take a time out. We often joke about taking a vacation from our vacation, and this time when our friends called we jumped at the idea of spending 36 hours in Savannah for New Year’s Eve.

If you only have 36 hours in Savannah, spend most of your day walking the streets and checking out the architecture, parks, the historic cemetery and Cathedral of St John the Baptist. Grab some coffee from Gallery Espresso for a mid-morning pick-me-up. Then go to Shop SCAD to pick up some affordable original artwork created by the students as a souvenir {more on that later}. You might try Mellow Mushroom {pizza} or Six Pence Pub {English pub grub} for lunch. If you prefer brunch I recommend J Christopher's.

 Although it can be filled with tourists {who cares, you are one}, go down to the waterfront to do some people watching. Grab a beer to-go if you’d like as you can drink in the streets here. This is a novelty that will never get old.

Go back to your room to refresh and perhaps squeeze in a nap. Then head to Crystal Beer Parlor for an authentic local Savannah experience and cuisine. After dinner walk over to Savannah Smiles for dueling pianos. The fun part here is that it’s a mix of locals and tourists, and you can pay to have a message written on huge mirrors behind the stage. People get really into it around football playoff season. Be warned that they will write just about anything so this is not for the faint of heart. If you like to be scared, Savannah is also known for being haunted and many visitors love to go on a haunted pub crawl.

We enjoyed our time there for New Year’s, but I’ve heard the best celebrations are for St. Patrick’s Day. It looks like you have just enough time to book your trip and check it out!

1 comment:

  1. I've always wanted to go to Savannah! Great recommendations.


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