It has always been a dream of mine to visit Savannah. It’s a lovely, charming southern town home to picturesque scenery that includes Spanish moss, old buildings, fountains, and a river. My dream was made reality when I took a quick day trip up to Savannah from Jacksonville, Florida. It was an absolutely incredible day!
Let me begin by saying, though, that the weather was positively worse than one would hope for. It was rainy on and off all day, windy, and overcast. The temperature was spot-on, though – cool and brisk in a really pleasant way, which made walking around the town and exploring everything rather nice (too often southern towns get hot and muggy, especially right on the water like Savannah is). So between bursts of rain, I was able to check out a large portion of Savannah and see what it’s all about!
My morning began with a trip to a wonderful coffee shop called The Coffee Fox. It’s a cute little shop that serves up delicious coffee, some pastries and small savory plates, and has cool, eclectic decor. I was more than happy to wait out a morning rainstorm here while sipping on a cold brew.
From there, I drifted over toward the City Market area. It’s an indoor/outdoorsy collection of shops and galleries that one can wander through and check out some local artists and unique souvenirs. Because I was there so early in the morning, many of the galleries weren’t open yet. Savannah has a huge art community; the Savannah College of Art and Design sits right in town and owns a lot of the buildings nearby (a number of galleries, shops, and cafes, are run by the students and college). If you’re looking for some unique artwork (from paintings to sculptures and little knickknacks), Savannah is a place to check out!
I headed down to the river next to do the Riverwalk and see the shops and little places along the river. It was rainy and windy so I dashed back and forth between the shops opposite the river and these rather interesting informational placards that are located right along the water. The placards feature historical information about the town and area from the time of founding, through the Civil War, the industrial revolution, up to modern times. Since I’m a sucker for history and didn’t want to miss out on this information, I ended up scurrying into the rain and wind to read them, then scurrying back to the shops to get out of the weather. The shops along the Riverwalk can be a litte touristy, but there are definitely some gems in there, too! I highly recommend ducking into the candy shops, where you can sample fresh, homemade pralines. Delicious! There are a number of cafes and restaurants along the way, too – go early to avoid the crowds, otherwise I’d recommend eating farther into town.
Opting to head farther back into town for lunch myself, I dined at the Crystal Beer Palace, a fantastic place on Jones Street with an impressive beer selection. I had a burger that the waiter recommended some yummy extras for and a local brew. Perfect for lunch! Afterward, it was time to hit one of the more famous sights in Savannah – Forsyth Park!
Forsyth Park is picturesque and precisely what you would call “southern.” It’s been featured in movies and serves as a backdrop setting for numerous books. Since I went on a rather rainy day, it wasn’t too crowded (fortunately). Near the park is also a Confederate Memorial, featuring a tall statue with a bronze Confederate soldier. This memorial didn’t always look the way it does today, though – the town disliked the original so much, it was decided that it would be made-under, with parts of the original taken off and the bronze soldier used as a replacement. Unfortunately, you can’t get too close to the statue as it’s fenced off by quite a distance. (It was also here that I happened to stumble into an interview of sorts – what looked like a local college kid had a microphone and a camera assistant and asked my opinion on the state of current politics. It was an interesting discussion for sure!)
Old cemeteries dot Savannah, too, and I eagerly wandered through one on my walk back from Forsyth Park toward the water again. Savannah is home to a bunch of things like this – old cemeteries, hidden statues or plaques from decades or centuries past, little parks and squares. In fact, every couple of blocks on the main streets there is a square – a little park at an intersection with benches, gardens, and sometimes a memorial or statue. Forrest Gump was famously filmed at Chippewa Square (apparently the bench he sits on in the movie was brought in for the movie and doesn’t actually exist… although I do think I was able to find the exact spot it was all filmed!). Many of the squares have old, large houses that are worth a look at all by themselves. Some have been converted to shops or boutiques, others are businesses or galleries. It feels that, with every turn in Savannah, you run into something old and beautiful.
With the day coming to a close, I grabbed one last coffee at The Coffee Fox and then headed over to Leopold’s, the local and notable ice cream shop. I enjoyed a fantastic cone of cherry blossom ice cream – it was light and fluffy and subtly floral! A perfect way to end the day 🙂
As the sun set, I finally hit the road, enjoying some locally-made salt water taffy on the ride back home. Even though the weather wasn’t necessarily the greatest for my day trip to Savannah, I’m thankful in many ways since it wasn’t overly hot or humid and the rain seemed to keep a lot of tourists away. I was able to see so many things, enjoy incredible food and drink, and really experience that “southern” feel that only a place like Savannah can truly embody. I miss the Spanish moss and riverwalk already!
Questions about Savannah? Or have a story of your own? Feel free to leave a comment! 🙂
As always, happy travels!