Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

September 06, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

2016 has been the year of the road trip for the Mann and me.  You already know about our most recent drive up the California Coast.  (Wait, what?  You haven’t read it yet?  Naughty, naughty reader!  Go!  Immediately!  choose your adventure!  I’ll wait…)

Ok, so now that we’re all caught up, let’s talk about our East Coast Adventure!

We offered to drive a family car back from Florida this past spring.  I’ve done this drive a few times as a kid but this was the first time we were doing this type of distance together and as adults.  We flew down to Palm Beach, spent a couple of days in our home-away-from-home in Stuart, FL (more on that here) and then hit the road for our first long haul adventure with way too many snacks.

When we first started planning this trip, we had a long list of stops that would have taken us a couple of weeks to get through.  We scaled it down to a couple of nights in Savannah and a night in Philly (saving St. Augustine, Charleston, DC and other stops along the way for next time).  The Mann started a new tradition this year of surprising me with the details of our winter vacation and I wanted to get him back with our time in Savannah.  I found the beautiful Brice Hotel in the Historic District near River Street.

The Brice describes itself perfectly as a “good Southern belle — beautiful and poised on the outside, a bit sassy and rebellious on the inside”.  We checked into a spacious, modern, inviting room on the ground floor with a patio that opened up to the pool and lounge area.
In true southern hospitality style, the hotel was hosting a meet and greet happy hour for guests in the lobby.  We popped down for a drink and checked out the various common spaces.  There are several living room-style lounges where you can hang out, read, chat and maybe make a new 4-legged friend (the Brice is pet friendly: gold star!!).

If the weather is inviting, you can relax out on the patio at one of the many cast iron cafe tables or outdoor couches.The Brice was the first place where we noticed complementary bicycle rental, how cool!  (The Paradox in Santa Cruz offers the same.)  But we headed out on foot to check out the neighborhood.  We started along the river and walked along the old brick streets and elevated storefronts that are each accessed by a little bridge that spans the alley below.  It’s such a cool aesthetic.

You may know that Savannah is a city of public squares, the most famous of which is Forsyth Park.  But between the river and Forsyth Park are a couple dozen smaller squares, each with historical significance.  Savannah is one of the first planned cities in the country and is laid out on an orderly grid that is easy to explore.  We chose to take a tour with Savannah Dan, who walked us through the Historic District with great stories of Savannah through the years, covering politics, culture, and random trivia.  Until recently, we’d always explore new cities on our own, but I have to tell you, a personable tour guide is totally worth it.  We saw a lot in a short time and it helped us narrow in on the areas we wanted to go back to and explore at our own pace.  After the tour, we decided to meander around the heart of the Historic District which is one of the US’s largest National Historic Landmark Districts, just enjoying the architecture and atmosphere.

Savannah is a small city and we got a good sense of it in just two days.  With that said, there is so much more to see outside of the Historic District and we look forward to going back and exploring further.  One must-see is the Wormsloe Plantation, which we visited on our way into Savannah.  It’s about 20 minutes away from the Historic District and if you’re visiting Savannah without a car, you can easily find a tour or other transportation.  Wormsloe is the quintessential southern vista.  Long straight dirt road, tall oak trees forming a canopy covered in dripping spanish moss.  The Plantation itself is not open to visitors, but you can walk around the grounds, through the forest and explore the ruins dating back to the mid-1700’s.

We also made a quick stop at Bonaventure Cemetery to see what it was all about.  It is a huge cemetery that you can walk or drive through and admire the moss-covered oaks, beautiful statues, ornate graves and tombs.  We were eager to get into the city so we did not stay for long, but it is definitely worth a visit.

My first awareness of Savannah as a place I wanted to explore was after seeing Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  It is a beautiful, unique, historic, city with a palpable atmosphere… just like in the movies.

Quick restaurant run-down:

The Pirates’ House: A little Disney-ish, so great for families.  Genuinely old (open since 1753!).  Mediocre food, but quick, easy and not expensive.

Treylor Park: Great atmosphere, fabulous outdoor patio, somewhat disappointing food, but excellent drinks.  Good movies on at the bar… I think Point Break (the real one, with Swayze) was on while we were there.

Chive Seabar: Hands down, our favorite meal of the trip.  Swanky, delicious, personable service.  Go!

Driftaway Cafe: Down the street from Wormsloe.  We were there during a jazz brunch.  Casual, tasty, southern.
 


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