Friday seems like a perfectly good day to travel back in time, so let’s go back to the week before this mess started, shall we? Since no one’s traveling right now, I thought we could take a happy little virtual tour through Savannah, Georgia which is where we were the week before things started to get serious. We had actually booked our spring break trip because of a partnership I had accepted with a North Carolina tourism group and decided to explore Savannah on the way up. We loved it so much, we made it another stop on our way home. Our original plan was to fly right to North Carolina, but with the beginning of coronavirus talk brewing, we decided to drive instead out of caution. We probably would never had taken the trip if I hadn’t signed a contract, and I’m so glad it worked out to enjoy such a special week with our family in such colorful corners of our country before we went into cocoon mode.
For years, friends have been telling me Savannah “has your name all over it,” and they were right–I was completely smitten. It’s basically a giant walking tour filled with the most picturesque historic homes straight out of a movie–miles of them spaced throughout town squares that also include charming shops and restaurants, fountains, park benches, cast iron fences, old trees dripping with Spanish moss, and flowers–the flowers! Azalea bloomed from every corner the week we visited, and there wasn’t a single inch of that city that wouldn’t have made a perfect postcard picture.
Where do I even begin? Let’s start with where we stayed because that’s where I begin when I’m planning a trip, and that often determines all the good that follows. I’ve had incredible luck over the years finding the most charming Airbnb homes, and I have no problem spending a great deal of time searching until I find “the one.” Where we stay is important because of the way we vacation. I’m a go, do, see girl; Brett likes to chill out, especially in the morning. We like staying in places that have lots of walkable sights so I can adventure with the kids in the morning and a place that’s homey and charming because we hang out there a lot as a family. We stayed at this Garden Suite in Forsyth Park on the way up and this Town Home in Historic Downtown on the way home. They were both completely magical and located right in the heart of the city so we could walk to everything.
When we stepped into the first place we stayed, Brett smiled and said, “Let me guess–you want to live here.” Not wrong.
You could look out the windows right into Forsyth Park, and every corner of the home held character. The kids found stacks of books and games, and Nella claimed her special spot as she often does in new homes–the back deck.
The kids brought their hover boards and helmets. Forsyth Park was just around the corner–perfect place to hang out in the evening.
We walked a lot during the day and never got bored or tired. I took the kids one morning to the Collins Quarter for breakfast and would absolutely go back. We tried the spiced lavender mocha, coconut chia pudding (oh my God!), and the Upstream Supreme (everything bagel with salmon, chive cream cheese and capers–so delish!).
We wandered every street we could find, popped in to so many shops and still haven’t seen so much of the city.
We walked to the River district our first night there. The kids were delighted to find two old-fashioned candy shops, and we were delighted to discover you can walk the streets sipping a beer.
Savannah is, of course, known for the Savannah College of Art and Design.
We stopped at the SCAD retail gallery downtown (so many beautiful gifts!) and ended up there just as the SCADstory 4-D experience was starting. It was so delightful. The kids even claimed it was better than the 4-D show we watched at Disney.
My favorite Savannah treasures were the bookshops. Dear Lord have mercy, it’s a Kathleen Kelly heaven. I was told by dear readers that I had to visit two book stores–E Shaver Books and the Book Lady, and neither disappointed (later in Willmington, we found two more enchanting book shops–the entire trip seemed to be graced with book delight).
E Shavers is literally “the shop around the corner.” I went looking for it with a map, walking closer and closer to the little destination pin on my phone until suddenly I looked up from the corner I was standing on and–well the choir of angels began their song.
The shop took my breath away and continued to as we walked into the store–heart rate rising, dopamine flooding–the creaky old wood floors (the building was built in 1843), layered Persian rugs, lamps, hidden nooks and hallways and books everywhere. And….CATS! Three resident kitties roam the shop. We found one curled up sleeping near the front window (I believe that’s Bartleby). Another chased Nella’s wand string as we perused cookbooks (Mr. Eliot). The last one (Skimbleshanks) made us hunt for him, but we found him crawling around a stack of books near the front counter.
We’ve since checked in on the shop on social media, rooting for a hearty comeback when this is all over.
Another Savannah favorite was venturing out to Tybee Island, only a 15-minute drive from downtown. There are some darling Airbnb homes on the island (quirky and colorful!), something to save for future trips. The beach was beautiful–expansive and offering so much color and character with the pier and surrounding island shops. We ate lunch at a quaint little beach cafe and picked up some beach balls at a shop near the pier.
The kids made up a love story about two quarreling birds (Jodi broke up with poor Berchram after Tony flew in and seduced her, and Berchram flew back to lay hell).
The island was such a fun and easy getaway from downtown, definitely a Savannah must-do.
Most loved in any city for me though are my quiet walks alone. I choose my playlist and just roam with no end in sight. I pick out my favorite houses, make up stories about who lives there, take photos, study architecture, fall in love with front porches and make mental lists of things I love about homes. Savannah offers a smorgasbord of loveliness for these walks.
When we visited one last time on the way home, I appreciated it all even more, aware our world was about to change and thankful to have one last night in that magical city before we drove straight through the next day to get home safely. Things felt different, and I knew–as Kathleen Kelly would say, “the shop would be closing.” What a special place to soak up one last day of our world as it was.
This city will be remembered for more than just its enchanting sights and culture for our family. It was our last little hoorah before we retreated to the cave, and a lovely hoorah it was. We’ll be back, Savannah.
Thank you for all the amazing Savannah recommendations so many of you shared on Instagram. Your suggestions never fail to deliver.