Hi everyone, I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! The boys and I just returned from a few days of R&R in sunny Savannah, GA!
Ben and I started exploring the south a few years ago with a trip to New Orleans. A couple hours in and we were hooked. The food! The culture! We felt like we were in a different country! Last year we became absolutely enamored with Charleston and it was only a matter of time before we booked another ticket to another fabulous southern city. Savannah for the long Labor Day weekend was it.
We arrived around lunch time on Thursday, got the stroller packed up, and immediately got going. The best way to see a city is on foot and Savannah is a walking town that’s as pretty as a picture. I’ve never seen such dense Spanish moss dripping from every tree in sight. I felt like I was walking into a movie set!
We quickly got the lay of the land then spread out in one of Savannah’s famous town squares to feed Lincoln lunch. The city is sprinkled with over 20 squares that are paved with brick, lined with trees, and dotted with fountains, monuments, and memorials. They are one of the most unique things about any city I’ve ever visited.
After the tiny man was fed, it was time to feed Mom and Dad. We quickly stumbled upon Kayak Kafe in downtown Savannah. Kayak’s fresh and healthy menu sucked us in, and their handcrafted cocktails kept us planted firmly at an outdoor table. A cold margarita with house-made sour sauce never tasted so good. I can’t recommend this place enough for healthy and delicious eats, and masterful hand-crafted drinks.
We walked around the rest of the day, getting a better feel for the city, then called it an early night. Our 6am flight had us all pretty beat. The next morning though, we were up and at ’em. Destination, Jones St!
Jones Street is touted as one of the prettiest streets in America, and it did not disappoint. Beautiful, historic homes built in the 1800s, secret gardens, and massive trees made up our view, and we just walked and walked and walked, taking it all in.
Next stop was Forsythe Park, most famous for it’s big Parisian fountain and 30 acres of wide-open space. This was a great spot to let Lincoln stretch his legs while we pondered where to go next. The flying nun hat was not his first choice, by the way. He kept hurling his regular hat off the side of the stroller and, after failing to notice one time, it was lost to the streets of Savannah. (Dad was on hat watch, by the way. Just saying!) ;)
We asked Siri for a lunch spot recommendation nearby and she suggested Firefly Cafe a half mile away.
Outdoor patio with a view of Troop Square? Sold!
Savannah is HOT hot, so a cool Caprese Salad was all I was craving.
Entertainment tip for traveling with a hot toddler? Pour ice water into the stroller tray for splashing. He cools down and Mom and Dad eat in peace. Everybody wins!
Ben had been wanting to see the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, which happened to be right around the corner, so we popped in to cool off and take in the sights.
The cathedral was built in the 1800s and reminded me of the one that was across the street from our hotel in Rome. Absolutely breathtaking…and air conditioned. Did I mention Savannah’s hot?
Afterwards we went back to the hotel to clean up and get ready for dinner. I honestly had no idea what to expect in regards to traveling with a 1 year old but it went better than I could have ever imagined. He took a 45 minute morning nap about three hours after waking up, then an hour and 15ish minute nap about 4 hours after that. Honestly it was nice to have an excuse to come back and clean up, hydrate, etc while he rested. He’s only nursing/bottle-feeding first thing in the morning and at bedtime now, so it was awesome to not have to worry about that during the day. Perfect timing for this trip!
Anyway! The restaurant that stood out among all the recommendations was the Olde Pink House (aptly named for it’s sweet hue,) so we headed there for dinner on Friday night.
The OPH is the most refined-looking restaurant I’ve ever been to. It was built in the late 1700s for a Savannah founding-family member, but has served as everything from a bank to headquarters for a Union general over the years. I’m grateful that it’s now home to this new southern cuisine restaurant because it was the best meal of our entire trip.
I was nervous about taking a 1 year old to what was largely a museum for dinner, especially because dinnertime is usually Cheerio-throwing time, but we made a very early reservation and there ended up being a number of families in our formal dining room. Phew!
OPH has an awesome gluten-free menu and Ben and I picked the shrimp and grits with Tillamook cheddar cheese sauce from it to start our experience with. Our eyeballs rolled into our heads at first bite.
The grits were perfectly creamy, the cheese sauce reminded me of buttered popcorn (in the most wonderful way possible,) and the fresh-caught Georgia shrimp buried inside were expertly cooked. Our 4-5 bites each were the perfect starter.
I couldn’t resist choosing diver scallops, which had the BEST sear and sauce, with mashed potatoes and fresh beans for my entree.
While Ben had fried Maryland blue crab with collard greens and hoppin’ john. Apparently it’s not blue crab season but a recent storm brought in a whole new batch. Ben was thrilled!
Afterwards we sat in the grass in the neighboring square and listened to a trumpet player who played the Itsy Bitsy Spider for Lincoln. Adorable.
Then we stopped at nearby Jen’s and Friends, home to 300 martinis, for a night cap on the way home. Oh yes, as if we couldn’t love Savannah anymore, you can drink in the streets. Hello, peach martini to go!
We followed dinner up with an awesome restaurant for breakfast the next day, J Cristopher’s.
This fresh and funky, bright and airy diner was the perfect place for breakfast. We stayed at the Embassy Suites, which has a huge free breakfast (and evening cocktail hour(s!)) that’s really convenient when you’ve got a toddler, but we did want to see what Savannah had for other breakfast options.
So glad we made our way to JC’s because this Spinach, Sundried Tomato and Avocado breakfast skillet was TO DIE. Will be re-creating ASAP!
Another traveling with a toddler tip – bring a pack of disposable placemats (here’s the ones we had >) They have sticky sides which means no germs for baby and no messing up the restaurant table/linens!
Other highlights from Saturday include checking out Chippewa Square – the “Forrest Gump” bus stop square…
And heading down to River Street!
River St is on the north side of Savannah and is probably the rowdiest spot in the city. Lots of bars, pubs, and restaurants but lots of fun, too. It had good energy.
The little man sure enjoyed it!
Our last meal in the city was another one of our favorites – The Public Kitchen.
This was a pinch me meal. Although it was 500 degrees outside, the cicadas buzzing in the trees above our heads at our outdoor table, passing horse-drawn carriages, and fabulous menu had me feeling so good about our trip to Savannah.
Here’s said ridiculous menu!
Ben and I split mussels in a savory broth flavored with leeks, wine, mild chorizo, and garlic – OMG – for an appetizer.
And I ordered the Watermelon Caprese Salad – fresh watermelon, goat cheese, and balsamic reduction (look familiar??) for my entree.
With a side salmon filet, of course. When in the south, and near the coast, eat ALL THE SEAFOOD. The salad was the ultimate in refreshing and the salmon was seasoned then seared to perfection.
The Sweet Tea Smash on the side was the perfect accompaniment. Awesome last meal in Savannah!!
I can’t say enough good things about Savannah. It’s got sass like New Orleans, charm like Charleston, but it’s definitely more laid back than either one. Think slower and more residential – perfect for families. Next time we’d probably take a side trip to nearby Tybee Island or Hilton Head, SC, but for these four days we just wanted to sit and savor Savannah. Full of wonderful people, top notch service, beautiful scenery, and some serious southern charm.
Oh, and ridiculously mouthwatering food. My only complaint about the trip is we didn’t have more time to eat! ‘Til next time, Savannah!