One of my all time favorite trips was an impromptu one to this beautiful place. When a friend asked moved there for work and invited me to visit I couldn’t say no. I didn’t plan for much because my friend was now a local but what i experienced in this beautiful city was more than I could have imagined. We flew to Georgia over April vacation for 5 days. We knew we would be staying in our friends apartment just outside of all the action which was how we discovered Sonic breakfast burritos but I’ll get to that later. The first day we arrived we made breakfast for friend as a thank you for her southern hospitality, a ride from the airport and a place to stay was well worth getting up early to make pancakes and mimosas. Once we had eaten we loaded up the car with our cooler, towels and snacks and headed out to Tybee Island to spend the day at Tybee Beach. The beach is gorgeous and the water was refreshing. We had plenty to people watch and it wasn’t crowded.
When you go on an adult Spring Break with two of your best party people you naturally seek out the adult slush machines just a short walk down the beach. We took a short walk to the end of the beach and found a Wet Willies which serves frozen adult beverages. We grabbed some drinks, to go of course because the open container laws are very liberal, and strolled through the heat back to the beach.
After a quick nap and a shower (the absolute best feeling after a day at the beach) we were ready to head to River Street for some dinner and drinks. We stopped on our walk at The Warehouse for a cold beer to take as we explored ideas for dinner. oddly enough we ended up enjoying these drinks in one of the most haunted locations in Savannah, The Colonial Park Cemetery. We stopped to sit on a bench briefly before we realized where we were. No ghosts were sighted on this trip though.
We literally stumbled upon the place we had dinner and, in true southern fashion, made friends while we waited for a table. It was worth it. We ended up with seat on the rooftop bar of Rocks on the Roof. Our table had amazing views of the sunset behind the bridge and over the river. We had crab cakes and fried green tomatoes and of course, a bottle of wine.
The next day we made our first (of many) stop at Sonic for a quick breakfast and went to the heart of Savannah to explore the squares and parks. Walking under magnolia trees surrounded by sunshine and Spanish moss you feel like you’ve been transported to the old south. There are musicians playing their instruments, couples strolling and holding hands and plenty of places to stop and read about the history of Savannah.
We wandered for hours through square after squares and stopped in a few small stores to do some shopping. The antique stores are interesting because many of the pieces they sell are not socially acceptable now because of the history of the south. we stumbled upon a great consignment shop full f great Lilly Pulitzer dresses and had fun trying some on. After a stop in Forsyth Park to admire the fountain and listen to the musicians we headed back toward River Street for lunch.
We stopped for lunch in between exploring at the brewery in town called Moon River Brewing Company. We loved the outdoor “beer garden” with hanging string lights and a very casual feel. They had great food and even better beers. My favorite was the “Yoga Pants” which is an American Pale Ale that’s easy to drink and still tastes like a beer. Did that super girly description make sense? Good, maybe I can find a career as a beer saleswoman.
The next day we decided to explore the nature path at the University of Georgia Marine Research Center on Skidaway Island. We walked the trail and saw a little bit of off the beaten path Georgia. The views were beautiful and walk was just about a mile long but totally worth it.
We decided we wanted to head back and go to one of the more touristy spots we drove by while we were leaving the beach the other day. I can’t tell you how glad I am that we stopped here because it turned out to be one of my favorite places on the trip. Yes, it was definitely a tourist trap. From the traps and buoy decorations and the many souvenirs they sold out front I knew I was not at a locals only spot. We saddled up to the bar and ordered margaritas to enjoy on the deck overlooking the water. Everyone around us was being delivered giant platters of seafood and it smelled amazing. The bartender was so friendly and we got to talking about life vacation versus reality. Every once in a while a cat would wander by looking for something to eat and it all just felt like some place we were meant to be. We did buy some souvenirs and then to top off our perfect tourist afternoon we bought some snacks for the alligators out front and stopped to feed them before we headed to dinner.
Dinner was at a place we had walked by the night before and been intrigued by. The menu has many kinds of meat on it and interesting combinations of ingredients we couldn’t wait to try. We took some seats at the bar and listened to the nights specials. We had a feeling dinner was going to be amazing (and we were right) but it turns out dinner was just the start to a truly amazing night.
We made friends with our bartender and after sharing some laughs and some stories about bars back home he came to let us in on a secret. We wanted to hang out later so he told us about a secret “speakeasy” in town that was truly a hidden gem. He drew us a map of town with directions to find this bar on it. We had to travel down a very tiny cobblestone road and behind the restaurants and shops filled with bachelorette parties and tour groups. We eventually found, tucked behind a pile of trash and old pallets, a place called Mata Hari. When you step inside you are transported to another time where bartenders serve flaming absinthe and there are nightly performances by singers belting out music on a stage with a single spotlight. Red velvet curtains and risque artwork surround you, but only if you can get in with a name or a key. We had a night like no other sipping champagne in this hidden gem in downtown Savannah.
Savannah for me was one of the most beautiful trips I will ever take because it felt like coming home. Everyone was kind and relaxed, no place had any qualities that could disappoint, and the rich history could be felt in every step we took. I look forward to going back someday but for now, luckily, they put in a Sonic up the road from us so every time I sip a watermelon slush with nerds I can remember adding vodka on my grown up Spring Break and be transported to the heat and hospitality of Savannah.