Savannah, a true Southern Belle

Several years ago a long time penpal of mine and her family joined us in the lovely and historic city of Savannah. Savannah is always one of my favorite places to visit, and is somewhere I never tire of visiting.


Savannah, a true Southern Belle

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by vampirefan on March 27, 2005

I just love being in Savannah. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I always find something new on every trip. I can make a whole day just out of walking around and looking at the historical homes and buildings. Some of my favorite things on this trip were the tours we took. Everyone seems to especially love the carriage tour. I also found Ft. Pulaski very interesting. Seeing the huge chunks of the bricks that were hit my cannon fire made you feel like you were there. I always love time on River Street. I always pay a visit to my favorite candle shop, Kandlesticks, and a stop at Huey’s for a bite to eat is always in order. ${QuickSuggestions} I would always advise any one to do some sort of advanced planning. You can visit the Savannah website at www.savannah-visit.com. Here you can get information on lodging and see what will be going on while you are in town. The busiest times of year are the summer, Christmas, and St. Patrick’s Day. Savannah has the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the nation. You can see my separate journal on that for more information. Close to 500,000 partiers descend upon Savannah for this celebration. If it is on a weekend, then double that amount. If you are coming here for that, you need to plan about 1 year in advance. One of the best ways to get your bearings in Savannah is to take one of the trolley tours that drops off and picks up at some of the most popular spots. ${BestWay} Savannah does have its own airport, Savannah-Hilton Head International (SAV). The airport is about 15 minutes from downtown. Air Trans, Independence Air, Delta, American, and Northwest serve them, among others. You can find transportation from the airport to downtown if your hotel does not provide it. If you are flying into Savannah and plan on staying in the downtown area, you will be fine without transportation. Savannah is a great walking city, and most of the tourist spots are located downtown and are easy to get to. Once in town, you can get around by trolley, carriage, or motor coach. Some of the tour companies do offer trips to some of the outlying areas, and there is public transportation to Tybee Island. If you are planning on staying outside the downtown area (where hotels are often cheaper) or you plan on doing some day tripping, then you will need to rent a car. You can rent a car at the airport and several places downtown. Again, check www.savannah-visit.com for more information.

Red Roof Inn

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on March 27, 2005

While in Savannah, this time we stayed at the Red Roof Inn here as well. This is the location on Al Henderson Blvd. And was nicer then the one we stayed at in Charleston. It is about 13 miles from downtown and 15 miles from the airport. There are a number of restaurants close by and within walking distance. This Red Roof Inn appeared to be newer than the one in Charleston. Everything was very clean and nice.

The décor of the room is typical moderate hotel style. We had 2 queen beds, which we love. We love the extra bed for all of our junk. We had a very nice large picture window. But the view is only that of the highway. Still very sunny though. We had a table and 2 chairs, a chest offering plenty of space for our clothes, a closet with an iron if we needed it. The bathrooms were spotless. Some of the rooms come with a hot tub, but we didn’t opt for that. They have a very nice amenity basket full of Dove products. They also had his and her sinks. We especially loved that in the morning when trying to get out the door.

They have a coffeemaker in the room. They do offer hot chocolate and tea as well and powdered cream and sugar. I am a tea drinker and asked housekeeping for some extra tea bags. They were more than happy to oblige leaving a very large supply. My husband I both have long hair and need extra towels. Housekeeping were also kind enough to keep us in extra towels. We also had a mini fridge in the room.

All the rooms are inside making you feel safe. They do have a pool. Pets are allowed and they have a big exercise area for pooches. They have cable in the rooms including HBO and Cinamax. They have complimentary copies of USA today in your room each morning. Continental breakfast is included. And they have a great breakfast. We had cereal, fruit, muffins, and my favorite Krispy Kream doughnuts. The rates here in the summer were only $55. Making this a great and affordable way to take in Savannah. The front desk staff is very cheery and has plenty of information on Savannah. The lobby area is very spacious, sunny, and inviting.

I am proud to report they are sponsors of the Humane Society. You can check them out on the web at .

Red Roof Savannah Inn And Suite
405 AL HENDERSON BLVD
Savannah, Georgia, 31419
912-920-3535

The Shrimp Factory

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on March 27, 2005

In addition to lunch at Huey’s (which I have detailed in several other journals), we dined one night at The Shrimp Factory. The building dates from 1823 to 1826, when it was formerly used as a cotton warehouse. It is renovated in 1977 and turned into one of the most popular restaurants on River Street.

We had a rather large group with us, including our friend Tine and her family, one of my pals Lisa and her hubby, and one of my clients Faye and her husband Donnie. We made advanced reservations and got right on in when we arrived. The restaurant offers an extensive wine list and has a full-service bar. We do not drink, but several of our party did and said everything was excellent.

Since there was a large group, we ordered several appetizers and spilt them. Coconut shrimp was passed around. Several of us shared the house salad, which is prepared and tossed right at your table. It comes with greens, scallions, bacon bits, Parmesan cheese, homemade herbed croutons, and a thick, creamy homemade Cesar salad dressing.

Since you are right on the waterfront, seafood makes up most of the menu, especially shrimp (in case the name didn’t clue you in). The non-seafood menu is small and limited to chicken and steak. I don’t eat seafood and went with the Chicken Sautee Sec. This mouthwatering double-breasted chicken comes in a scrumptious rosemary-chardonnay sauce with green onions and mushrooms and plated with a rice pilaf. It was divine and more than I could eat. John went with the shrimp-stuffed Savannah, which offers eight fantail shrimp baked and filled with devil crab and lemon butter served on a bed of baked rice.

If you have room for dessert, try the very impressive bananas foster flame. It consists of bananas and a rum sauce, which is flambéed at your table and poured over vanilla-bean ice cream. I didn’t have room, but Suzanne and Tine had it and let me sample it. Oh, wow! Yummy and impressive.

The building does have a resident ghost, Joe, who died on the stairs in August of 1977. He seems harmless, and the employees peacefully coexist with Joe. To read more about Joe and for more information on the restaurant, go to www.theshrimpfactory.com. They do take reservations and I would suggest them.

Shrimp Factory
313 East River St
Savannah, Georgia, 31401
+1 912 236 4229

River Street

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on March 27, 2005

One of the must-see, must-do things in Savannah is the renowned River Street. The street sits idyllically along the beautiful Savannah River. Today it is a one-stop entertainment center. Shopping, dining, and bars can be found along this beautiful area. The area cover 9 blocks and is located in downtown Savannah.

The cobblestones streets are as old as the city itself. The port of Savannah was once a thriving major port. The wealthy plantation owners made their fortunes in cotton and tobacco and used the port to export their products. The street was once alive with produce vendors, shopping stalls, and bars and restaurants ready to serve the sailors coming into port. It was also once a very rowdy area. Skip ahead a few hundred years, and you will still find shopping, bars, and restaurants. And anyone who has been on River Street during St. Patrick’s Day can attest to the rowdiness factor. Today’s visitor to River Street can still feel like they have stepped back in time, but with all the modern amenities.

But somewhere in between River Street was almost a lost cause. Like so many areas suffering from the Urban Flight of the '70s, River Street was all but abandoned. In 1977, when the restoration wave began in Savannah, River Street got a new lease on life. The once-19th-century warehouses have been turned into trendy restaurants and bars. Today more than 80 stores and restaurants abound here. There are several hotels located directly on River Street, including the historic River Street Inn, which dates from the 1800s, and the Hyatt. There are a number of excellent restaurants, including Wet Willies, the Shrimp Factory, and my favorite, Huey’s. Stores range from upscale clothing and jewelry to locally-made-craft and souvenir shops. One of my favorites is Kandlesticks. They make beautiful ribbon candles, and you can watch the candle makers at work. Needless to say, I have a rather large collection of ribbon candles. At night, the bars and pubs light up the street. There are several older ships anchored in the bay that are open for climbing. In the spring and summer, open-air stalls abound.

There are a number of tours that start here and have River Street on their itineraries. Make sure to check out the Waving Girl statue. The statue, built by Felix De Weldon in 1971, pays homage to Savannah resident Florence Martus. There are several stories about Martus, including one that she waved at the passing ships, waiting for her true love to return. The Waving Girl and her dog have greeted more than 50,000 ships. River Street is reported to have two resident ghosts, so be on the lookout for strange occurrences here.

A number of festivals are held on River Street. For more information, go to www.riverstreetmarketplace.com or www.savannah-visit.com. No trip to Savannah is complete without a stop here.

Savannah Riverfront/River Street
Savannah's Historic Waterfront
Savannah, Georgia, 31401

Fort Pulaski National Monument

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on March 27, 2005

About 15 minutes from Savannah on your way to Tybee Island sits Ft. Pulaski. It is located on Cockspur Island, which was once a strategic area near the mouth of the Savannah River. It was built between 1829 and 1847 to defend Savannah from foreign attacks and invasions. Early in the Civil War, Georgian troops seized the fortress.

Between April 11 and 12, 1862, Union (i.e. Yankee) forces deployed artillery onto Tybee Island. Only 30 hours later, the 7.5-foot-thick walls were breached, and Confederate (Southern) forces surrendered.

Today the fort is under the protection of the National Park Service and is open to visitors. From the parking area, you walk to the moat area and enter the fort. You can still see large areas of the fort where it was shot by cannon fire. There are tours around the fort, or you can tour at your leisure. There is not much in the way of any displays. On the lower level, there are a number of rooms open, including soldier barracks, officer rooms, and stables. You can walk around the second level, where a number of cannons can still be found intact. From here, you get an amazing view of the river. Kids of all ages will love this, and what a perfect way to teach your child a history lesson. Some of the rooms are still musty-smelling, in case you’re like me and suffer from allergies. One the grounds, take some time to just sit and reflect on the history of this place for a while. It is a must-stop for the history buff.

The area surrounding the fort is a nature lover’s paradise. They offer bike trials, bird-watching, fishing, and hiking. Wildlife abounds in the trees and marshes surrounding the fort. Visitors may spot white-tailed deer, any number of migrating birds, and maybe even an alligator. Just off the fort sits Cockspur Island, home to the tiny Cockspur Island Lighthouse, which is open to the public, if you can get there. You can go to my Low Country Lighthouses journal for more information.

There is a visitor’s center before you get to the fort. Here they have an interpretive museum and information on the fort and its history. They do have restrooms on the premises. There are picnic areas on the ground. The lower portion of the fort is wheelchair-accessible. Pets are permitted on a leash. They do have an audiocassette on the history of the fort for the handicapped. They offer brochures on the fort in German, Polish, Japanese, French, and Spanish.

This is an absolute must for any visit to Savannah or Tybee Island. Nature lovers and history lovers will be in heaven. Afterwards, make sure to visit the lovely island of Tybee, only 15 minutes away. For more information on the fort, visit www.nps.gov/fopu.

Tybee Island/Fort Pulaski National Monument
Cockspur Island
Tybee Island, Georgia, 31328
(912) 786-5787

Scrap Happy

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by vampirefan on March 27, 2005

Located on Johnny Mercer Boulevard, you will find Scrap Happy offering 3,000 square feet of scrap-booking supplies. You will find an assortment of papers, pens, kits, albums, embellishments, accessories, and more. Kim Hendrix is the owner of the store. The store carries the most updated scrap-booking supplies. The store is nice and neat, with plenty of room to move around. The have plenty of pages done for inspiration. The staff is very friendly. If you are from out of town, they will be glad to show you want products they have promoting Savannah and Georgia. I could spend all day in this place.

They offer a newsletter, cropping parties, and a number of classes. If you are in town and it is your birthday, come on in with your id. You will save the percent off of your age (i.e. if you are 40, like me, you will save 40%) off one item! They have a Crazy Cropper Club, and you get 20% of your purchase when your card it filled. This is great if you visit often. They have a website at www.scraphappysavannah.com.

I am a major scrapper and love to visit scrap-booking stores when I am traveling. I always find fresh, new ides and products geared to the region. In some places you can find products by local crafters. Make sure you check out Memory Makers or Creating Keepsakes magazines. They offer a list of scrap-booking stores all over the country and the world. Take the time to explore the world of scrap-booking in a new place.

Scrap Happy
461 Johnny Mercer Blvd.
Savannah, Georgia, 31410
(912) 898-9610

Enjoy Savannah!

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by vampirefan on March 27, 2005

The history of Savannah goes back to February 12, 1733, when English General James Edward Oglethorpe and 120 colonists arrived in Savannah and founded the 13th and last colony in the New World. The colony grew, and people from all over began to gather in this beautiful place. In 1793, Eli Whitney invented the cotton gin, and colonists began to make their fortune in cotton. Savannah became a major seaport, and soon wealthy colonist began to build lavish homes and nearby plantations. But Savannah soon found itself caught in the Civil War. In 1864, Savannah residents surrendered their city rather than see it destroyed. Yankee General Sherman found this city so beautiful that he never did torch it.

But after World War I and the collapse of cotton, the city began to languish. In 1955, a group of ladies were outraged that the Isaiah Davenport House was going to be destroyed. They raised enough money and brought the house and restored it to its modern-day refinement. This was the beginning of the Historical Society. Today more than 1,000 homes and buildings have been restored, and Savannah has the largest concentration of historical homes and buildings in the nations. Many of these homes are open to the public for tours, while others have been converted into bed-and-breakfasts. Many old buildings have new homes as offices and restaurants. The art and design school has bought a number of buildings and restored them to use for students. Several times of year, some of the grandest homes are open to the public for tours. Savannah is also the home of Juliet Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts, and is a place of pilgrimage for thousands of badge-wearing Girl Scout every year.

Savannah has further found fame as a backdrop for the many movies that have come calling. In 1994, John Berdendt wrote the book "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil", telling of murder in Savannah Society. In 1997, Clint Eastwood directed the movie and shot it on location. Both are recommendations on my list, and you can find the book and DVD all over Savannah. Movies such as Forrest Gump, Glory Days, and Forces of Nature have all used the beauty of Savannah. There are a number of tours highlighting the connection between Hollywood and Savannah.

Somehow, I am sure General Oglethorpe is looking down and seeing his beautiful city is still going strong. A visit to Savannah today is a reminder of what it was like several hundred years ago. On the outskirts, you will find malls and a more modern Savannah. But downtown, you will find beautiful tree-lined squares and some of the finest renovated historical homes in the nation, proving that many people still enjoy things as they once were.

There are plenty of touring companies, and you can tour by horse- or mule-drawn carriage, trolley, or motor coach. Savannah is one of the top ten walking cities, so you can find plenty of walking tours. Subjects from Civil War history and African-American history to historical homes and gardens and Savannah history can be found all over the city.

Savannah also ranks as one of the most haunted cities in the nation. Invading Yankees, fire, floods, and diseases have left their imprint on Savannah. Many businesses are proud of the fact they have a ghost and have no intention of trying to have them removed. In October, haunted bed-and-breakfasts give visitors a thrill, offering packages that include a haunted tour. Just about every tour company offers a ghost tour. One company even hauls victims (I mean visitors) around in a hearse!

Savannah also has a large number of bars and pubs. Tours of these are also on many tour rosters. Maybe that's why there is a large number of ghosts spotted here. In Savannah, as long as you have your drink in a to-go cup, you may walk around with an alcoholic beverage.

Since Savannah sits so close to the ocean, there is an abundance of fresh seafood. Savannah has a number of superb restaurants, giving visitors a dizzying array of dining options. Local specialties include seafood and low-country cooking, which gets it influences from the African and Caribbean cultures. Since the English founded this, you will find a number of English and Irish pubs. Churchill’s is one of my favorites.

Nightlife in Savannah is not a stoic as you would think. There are a number of bars and restaurants all over the place. Nightclubs can be found, especially away from downtown. Jazz, rock, and Latin salsa all can be found here. Savannah is also a pretty open-minded city and has a very large gay and lesbian community. If you would like to see Lady Chablis from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, then head on over to Club One, where you will find her shows. Their website is www.clubone-online.com.

From Savannah, there are a number of great places for day-tripping. The closest is the lovely Tybee Island. Located only 15 minutes away, it offers visitors sun and fun. The beautiful city of Beaufort, SC, is 45 minutes away. This city is often overshadowed by Savannah and Charleston but offers an equally impressive number of restored historical homes. It is also where a large portion of Forrest Gump was filmed. Charleston, SC, is 100 miles away. The sun-and-fun capital of Hilton Head Island is a little over an hour away. The Sea Islands, which include Cumberland Island, Jekyll Island, and St. Simons Island, are also 100 miles away.

Websites for these are:

Tybee Island Beaufort, SC Charleston, SC Hilton Head, SC Sea Islands

I do encourage everyone to make a visit to Savannah. Her beauty and charm will captivate you. This Southern city is near and dear to my heart. I was stationed here in 1985, while I was in the army. I fell in love with her then and still keep coming back. This is one city that has never left my heart. For more information, go to www.savannah-visit.com.


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