Thanks to a winter nor’easter, we ended up extending our spring trip down south by a day for an impromptu overnight in Savannah, Georgia. Neither my mother nor myself had ever spent any time in Savannah when we lived a few hours away in North Carolina, which we were quick to remedy, by seeing a great deal of the city in our brief, less than 24-hour stay. Although Savannah is often compared to Charleston by those looking for quintessential southern cities, I find that the numerous tree-lined public squares (from one of the country’s first city development plans) make the city feel smaller and slightly more lush than its neighbor to the north.
We were lucky to be able to grab a couple of last minute rooms at The Brice, Kimpton’s boutique hotel right off of East Bay Street, a mere two days after Savannah swells in size for its famous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The rooms at The Brice reminded me of those of The Buchanan in San Francisco (another Kimpton property) and how a few unique, modern design elements go such a long way in adding a bit of playful personality to what might otherwise be pretty standard hotel rooms. Southern hospitality at its finest, the staff was incredibly helpful and seemed genuinely interested in all that we saw (and ate) during our stay.
Having moved our return flight back just two days before actually visiting Savannah, we were surprised (and so thankful) to snag the last reservation for two at The Grey, a restaurant that has been garnering quite a bit of buzz and well-deserved attention since it opened in 2014. Housed in a former 1930s Art Deco Greyhound bus station, The Grey is the perfect blend of chef Mashama Bailey’s interpretation of southern cuisine, having grown up visiting Savannah as a child, with the culinary experience gleaned from her time at Prune in New York. Standouts from our dinner include the potlikker vinegar turnip cakes, the pecan-crusted sea bass with rice middlins, the spiced chutney and benne seed crackers, and of course, the snickerdoodle sundae, topped with ice cream from Leopold’s – a Savannah ice cream institution.
A trip to this famed Savannah bakery has been on my bucket list for ages and was well worth the years of anticipation. I’d be in serious trouble if I lived in the same city as the genius Everything is Everything biscuit – pepper jelly and sage-honey cream cheese on an everything biscuit.
A blog reader suggested a visit to this quirky coffee shop/Tex Mex cantina via Instagram, and although we would have loved to sample the Texan-Czech kolache, all we had room for, after our filling breakfast at Back in the Day, were a couple of tasty hot horchatas to accompany us on an unseasonably chilly spring morning. Had it been lunch time, I would have been all over the tacos and the chipotle pimiento cheese!
Though we didn’t have too much time to pop in shops during our afternoon stroll and quick jaunt the next morning around the city, we did manage to visit a few gems. The Paris Market & Broncante has been on my radar for awhile and easily made me regret not bringing a bigger suitcase – I could have brought so much home with me. I was enthralled by the student artwork in the shopSCAD gallery, and loved browsing the textiles at Number Four Eleven. Alex Raskin Antiques is a treasure trove of antiques and is worth a visit, if nothing more than to see the building’s gorgeous exterior – easily my favorite in all of Savannah.
On our Radar for Next Time
I hope I have a chance to return to Savannah with Michael, since we’ve now each been to this charming city on our own, but sadly never together. An al fresco dinner out of town at The Wyld would be high on my list, as would a lunch at Zunzi’s. (Although I cannot ever imagine a future visit to Savannah that doesn’t include a return trip to The Grey.) Perry Lane Hotel, part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection, is also opening up soon and promises to have an amazing rooftop bar and interiors full of local art.
Photos by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.